Last September, the Healing Our Waters Coalition hosted representatives of candidates Trump and Clinton at HOW’s annual Great Lakes restoration conference.  They shouldn’t have bothered.

Each representative professed his candidate’s ardent support for the Great Lakes.  But since Trump won, let’s focus on his surrogate.  HOW construed the presentation by Mike Budzik as signaling Trump’s support for the $300 million a year Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  Then, in late February, reports circulated that Trump’s budget will propose a 97% cut in the Initiative.

In fairness, neither surrogate committed to a dollar figure.  But it’s safe to say a 97% cut is not support.

Now the fight begins. Politicians of both parties have vowed to restore the $300 million.  They’ll get some of it back.  Maybe half.

One thing we can learn from this history is to stop inviting candidates or their representatives to speak about their fondness for the Great Lakes. It’s like accepting counterfeit money.

Save everyone’s time and send the candidates a one paragraph letter asking them to say yea or nay to supporting $300 million or more per year for the Great Lakes.  Odds are, they won’t commit but will offer cheap rhetoric and then the headline will be accurate:  “candidate refuses to support Great Lakes Initiative.”