Today, Marco Rubio sets out on a six-day media tour across Florida where he will visit with the counties and people who haven’t heard from him since the last time he needed their votes. The appropriately named “Fight Starts Now Tour” only serves to highlight the fact that Rubio has been a no-show in the fights Florida communities have faced during his term. Elected officials, activists, and community members in each city are holding Marco Rubio accountable, and we will be lifting up their stories every step of the way.
The first stops on Rubio’s photo op tour are Fort Myers and the Treasure Coast, where Rubio spent years refusing to meet with local officials and failing to act on the toxic algae bloom devastating local waterways and businesses.
“Marco Rubio has never taken a single meeting with me over the last five years despite the fact that I travel to Washington regularly to advocate for the people West Palm Beach.” said Jeri Muoio, Mayor of the City of West Palm Beach. “Now that Rubio wants our votes to keep the job he seemingly hates, he’s swooping in to West Palm Beach to try and win back votes from the constituents he’s spent years ignoring. As we face the growing crises of toxic algae blooms and climate change, Floridians deserve a senator whose commitment to tackling local issues extends beyond last minute photo ops.”
“While Marco Rubio spent the last five years in office planning his next campaign, those of us in South Florida were trying to prevent the growing consequences of toxic algae and climate change in our own backyard,” said Representative Lori Berman, Florida House 90th District. “We only see Rubio in Palm Beach County when he’s flying in for a photo op or a fundraiser. Eleventh hour campaign stops don’t make up for years of ignoring our concerns in order to score political points with his D.C. special interest backers.”
Rubio was a frequent visitor to Fort Myers during his 2010 campaign, visiting the area at least 7 times when he needed the votes. But after his election, Rubio only visited Fort Myers once for official business, and stopped by one other time after 2011 to campaign. Whether for official or campaign business, Rubio’s sparse visits to the West Palm Beach area since assuming office almost exclusively revolved around aiding his political ambitions.
Rubio’s record of attacking water safety in Florida goes back before the toxic blue-green algae blooms he ignored. In 2007, Rubio voted to raid Florida’s Clean Water Trust Fund for over half of its funding. He has claimed that supporting the environment would “destroy our economy” and was the only Senator in a state affected by the BP oil spill to vote against aid to help clean up the environmental devastation. Rubio even issued an official release fighting against Clean Water protection laws in October 2015.