WELLINGTON — Rick Roth might be the one local candidate this election who wouldn’t find it offensive to be compared to Donald Trump!
Belle Glade farmer Roth, 63, is running for Florida House District 85, a huge north Palm Beach County territory that stretched from the beaches in Juno Beach and Palm Beach Gardens west to well beyond the Acreage and Jupiter Farms.
Roth, a first time campaigner, is the race’s Republican, and he is taking on former Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy Robert Simeone, a Democrat.
For one thing, Wellington resident Roth is one of the rare candidates for office who doesn’t live in the district he wants to work for.
But there’s something else about Roth that caught our attention: Trump and Roth might actually be interchangeable!
Roth is an anti-establishment extreme-right businessman without much of a platform who is capturing the white male Christian fundamentalist vote.
On his campaign website, for example, Roth advises followers to tune in to “Christian radio, like Moody Radio, a very credible source of news, issues and book reviews.”
Of course, he also asks folks to tune to the Fox News.
— The Palm Beach Post failed to vet Roth properly then endorsed him. So, we had to step in to give you the straight dope. Isn’t it time you #dropthepaper and click here to subscribe to our daily alerts?
Like Trump, Roth puts money over the environment.
He is, after all, a farmer whose fertilizers are blamed for this summer’s green algae waves that choked waterways from Lake Okeechobee to Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
He then called “insane” the views that preserving The Everglades might actually be more important than farming.
Trumpian Roth also believes the rules are for everybody, except for him.
According to state records, he was cited not just once but twice for violating animal protection measures in South Florida.
In 2006, fish and game wardens in the Florida Key nailed him for possession of protected, undersized crawfish. He was on a boat that wasn’t registered and didn’t carry the proper safety equipment.
Three years later, he was cited in Belle Glade for violation of fishing laws.
Like Trump, Roth used minority workers then discriminated against them, according to court records.
His business, Roth Farms, was sued for racial discrimination in 1999. And the federal case was a doozy, something more akin to the old south in the 1950s than Palm Beach County in the modern era.
According to the file, Roth was accused of firing $6.75-an-hour black female vegetable harvesters who were at his employ for years so that he could replace them with Hispanics making $4.50 an hour.
One woman, Louise Jackson, worked for Roth since 1966, according to the complaint.
In the end, the case was settled. The terms were confidential.
We reached out to Roth for comment but we have yet to hear from him.