Democratic candidate for governor Gwen Graham is now making offshore drilling an issue in the race, calling out Republican candidate Adam Putnam for not opposing President Donald Trump‘s efforts “to expand drilling off Florida’s beaches.”
“Representing the Gulf Coast in Congress, I saw the long-lasting negative effects the BP oil spill had on our state’s economy,” she said in a statement. Graham represented the state’s 2nd Congressional District in 2015–17.
“It cost us jobs and hurt real Floridians,” she said. “Can you imagine a spill closer to our coasts? Banning drilling off our beaches is vital to our military, economy, and environment.
“Drilling will only benefit oil companies and Wall Street. Every Floridian, regardless of party, has a responsibility to speak out against Trump’s dangerous proposal.”
Here’s the rest of her release:
A report in Tuesday’s Tampa Bay Times highlighted the military’s opposition to drilling off Florida’s coasts, citing a letter from Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson[, a Democrat].
Goldfein wrote that the Air Force needs the certainty of a drilling ban to guarantee it can carry out its testing and training missions in the Gulf of Mexico.
While in Congress, Graham was the only Florida Democrat to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. She represented Tyndal Air Force Base and heard firsthand from Air Force generals and airmen who opposed drilling off Florida’s beaches.
“I was proud to stand up for our military in Congress, and, as governor, I will continue to fight for the bases and service members in Florida,” Graham said. “Open waters are vital to the Air Force’s operations. Limiting their mission could put our airmen at risk, endanger national security and cost our state jobs.”
Graham supported Nelson’s efforts to fight drilling and co-sponsored bipartisan proposals with Reps. Patrick Murphy and David Jolly to ban exploration off Florida’s beaches.
In stark contrast, Adam Putnam has flipped flopped on the issue over the course of his long career in politics.
In 2006, he led congressional Republicans in an effort to expand drilling as close as 50 miles from Florida’s beaches. And as Trump and congressional Republicans have pushed for drilling off Florida’s beaches, the gubernatorial candidate has remained silent on the issue.
“Adam Putnam shouldn’t have to wait for a poll or measure political winds to stand up to Trump. After 20 years in politics, it’s time for Putnam to put Florida first and oppose any drilling off our beaches, once and for all,” Graham said.