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MEDIA ADVISORY: Rubio To Discuss VA Reform In Panama City Beach, Tour Citrus Greening Problem In Lakeland

Jul 20, 2016 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. Tomorrow, July 21, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) will be meeting with veterans in Panama City Beach to hear their perspectives on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and to highlight his ongoing efforts to reform the VA and hold its officials accountable for failing to provide adequate services.
Later in the day, Rubio will visit the Lakeland area to tour a citrus grove affected by citrus greening, a bacteria that has infected approximately 80 percent of Florida’s citrus trees. Rubio will be joined by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
Media interested in attending these events must RSVP to
Thursday, July 21, 2016
9:15 a.m. CDT
Rubio to participate in Bay County VA reform and accountability event, followed by a media availability
VFW Post 10555
17680 Ashley Drive
Panama City Beach, FL 32413
Thursday, July 21, 2016
4:15 p.m. EDT
Rubio and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to tour citrus grove impacted by citrus greening, followed by a media availability
Gapway Groves
Berkley Road and Gapway Road (head east on Gapway about 1,000 yards)
Auburndale, FL 33823
Note: RSVP’d press will be allowed to join the tour.

  • To date, Rubio’s office has worked on and closed approximately 4,000 VA-related constituent cases. 


  • Earlier this year, Rubio announced his backing of the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act (sponsored by Florida Senator Bill Nelson), which would allow citrus growers impacted by citrus greening to immediately expense the cost of planting new citrus trees instead of the standard 14-year depreciation process.‎ 
  • On December 16, 2015, Rubio supported Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to grant an emergency exception to use up to three antimicrobials on diseased citrus plants in the fight against greening.               
  • On February 8, 2016, Rubio’s office held a briefing with the EPA and Florida delegation staff, where we pressed the issue for a timely decision as application of the antimicrobials must be made soon. 
  • On March 4, the EPA concurred with Florida’s crisis exemption, allowing three antimicrobials to be used. 
  • In early 2014, Rubio visited South Korea, where he pressed officials there on a harmful tariff that was harming Florida orange juice producers. Upon returning home, Rubio helped fast-track a solution by urging South Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho-young and his colleagues to tour Florida facilities and resolve their concerns, which they did a month later. As the Orlando Sentinel reported on April 26, 2014, “A tariff dispute between the U.S. and South Korea over frozen orange juice concentrate was quietly resolved…” ‎  
  • Last year, the Tampa Tribune reported that as a result of this free trade agreement, Florida natural juice sales reportedly have gone from $4 million to $40 million in three years and the sale of fresh grapefruit went from $1 million to nearly $5 million over the same period.