Bullsugar has a strong new ally: our newest board member, former Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah. Ray brings deep experience in environmental advocacy, particularly in Southwest Florida, that is sure to add an inspiring presence to the Bullsugar team.
As a former environmental land planner with the Lee County Department of Community Development and with 24 years of experience as a Lee County Commissioner (1988-2012) he remains a strong advocate for providing a balance between management of growth and responsible stewardship of our precious natural resources.
Ray isn’t new to the fight for clean water. He spent many years establishing himself as a thorn in the side of polluters. He has spoken out regularly at environmental gatherings and water management meetings as an advocate for the protection of the Caloosahatchee River and coastal estuaries through restoration of the historic southern flow-way to the Everglades and responsible management of Lake Okeechobee.
His political courage earned him recognizable adversaries. In an interview with Bullsugar, Ray describes the year that U.S. Sugar got personally involved in ousting him from office, using a Super PAC to funnel over a million dollars to undermine his candidacy in 2012. While the amount of money used to influence a local election seems outrageous, the pattern should sound familiar. The influence of the sugar industry has permeated Florida elections, — local state and federal — for as long as sugarcane growers have stood to benefit from the control of water management policy, and by extension, control of the people elected to implement and approve those policies.
It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last that Big Sugar will use its unmatched spending ability to buy influence in communities across Florida to silence complaints about its pollution.
Real life experiences like Ray’s offer Floridians even greater perspective into a system that is damaged by the status quo. The addition of his voice to the Bullsugar board enhances our ability to raise awareness of the inadequacy and manipulation of Florida’s water management crisis and will help to turn educated supporters into clean-water voters.
Ray said he is honored to join the Bullsugar.org board “because it is an environmental organization that exhibits the utmost integrity while working boldly and decisively with the public, government agencies and elected officials towards getting the water right in restoring our south Florida ecosystem.”
As we move into the 2020 election season, we’re going to need your help to elevate clean-water candidates. Please consider contributing today to help cover the cost of this year’s Vote Water campaign.