Facing a growing Republican primary field, state Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Lehigh Acres, is hitting the road as he continues his bid to be Florida agriculture commissioner in 2018 when current incumbent Adam Putnam faces term limits.
Caldwell, who currently chairs the House Government Accountability Committee, announced on Thursday that he will be following a Florida political tradition by holding work days across the state. During his time on the political stage, which saw him win two terms as governor and three terms in the U.S. Senate, Bob Graham made work days a staple of his electoral career. Other Florida politicians, including current Gov. Rick Scott and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., who is currently running for governor, have also included work days on their campaign schedules.
“As I travel across the Sunshine State, on major highways and two lane roads throughout rural Florida, I am excited to roll up my sleeves and work alongside the hardworking men and women that drive Florida’s economy,” Caldwell said. “Our next commissioner of Agriculture has the opportunity to get their boots dirty and highlight the diverse and complex challenges that Florida’s businesses and families face day in and day out. Additionally, our next commissioner of Agriculture must have the ability to lead and affect change in Tallahassee on day one and champion issues that are vital to economic growth and prosperity in the Sunshine State.”
Caldwell will have his first work day event on Friday at Key Largo Facilities.
“I am going to be highlighting the jobs across our state that may not be glamorous but are critical to moving Florida’s economy,” Caldwell said. “While processing seafood isn’t easy, and you’re certainly going to get yourself dirty, our great state wouldn't be what it is today without the hard working men and women that are responsible for the wholesome and delicious food that is served on tables across America.”
Caldwell entered the race at the start of May and he is facing a growing crowd of opponents. State Sen. Denise Grimsely, who used to serve alongside Caldwell in the House, is running for GOP nod for the agriculture post. So is businessman Paul Paulson who ran for Orlando mayor in 2015. Earlier this week, former state Rep. Baxter Troutman entered the Republican primary field. Michael Christine is running for the Democratic nomination.