Debbie Mayfield’s Biggest Donor: I Didn’t See It Coming
As a resident of Vero Beach and Indian River County, which boasts some of the largest citrus crops in the state, it may not surprise you that Debbie Mayfield (R-Vero Beach) looks out for the best interests of her crop growing constituents. As a Republican and a member of the Indian River Chamber of Commerce, it’s not surprising that she cares for business growth and easing the tax burdens of business owners in her hometown. What certainly is not surprising is that as a state representative running for re-election, Mayfield receives campaign contributions from those in the agricultural industry and the Chamber of Commerce.
It didn’t surprise me.
It didn’t even surprise (or bother) me that Mayfield’s second largest source of contributions came from Political Action Committees. It’s common practice in modern politics by candidates from every party. However, I was stunned to discover who was Mayfield collected the most money from: Optometrists.
Your eyes aren’t deceiving you, you read that like the top line of letters in an eye exam. Before the current legislative session, Mayfield racked up $23,300 from optometrists and those acting on their behalf (i.e. Optometry PACs).
It’s not like the eye doctors of the world are ganging up to take over the world and rule politics like the oil companies, automakers and banks. However, they do have a vested interest in legislation in this year’s session and it’s SB330. The bill, which is now stuck in the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee, would allow optometrists to prescribe medication to their patients.Currently, only ophthalmologists are allowed to do so because they are “real doctors” (meaning they have MDs) while optometrists are not.
It may seem like a small matter or even a sad “power” grab by optometrists, but a medical professional can charge a lot more for their services if they have the ability to write prescriptions. And while I seriously doubt that the Optometry Lobby, if there is even such a thing, is wining and dining politicians like Mayfield or that her opponents will cry foul for these contributions, it is fascinating that she has been able to rack up so much cash from such an unassuming group.
– Brett Williams