CLEWISTON - Political division is not uncommon these days, and in the small town of Clewiston, a whole new reason to argue has cropped up. Residents of Clewiston have had serious, sometimes heated, debates about the proposed renaming of Highway 27 both in person and on social media.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a Florida lawmaker, who is often involved in controversy, says he supports the renaming of the major Florida highway after former President Donald Trump. Sabatini said he will be sponsoring an amendment in the upcoming legislative session that would call for the renaming.
Florida Legislators meet for 69 days each year. This year, the session will begin on March 2.
“Looking forward to working on this important designation honoring one of the greatest Presidents in American History,” Sabatini tweeted Tuesday.
U.S. 27 is a 481-mile-long roadway that runs north and south from Miami up through Tallahassee, and right through the middle of Clewiston. Around town it’s known as Sugarland Highway.
“I think it would be an awesome way to honor our former President,” said Jeff Traeger, a local bass fisherman and resident of Montura. “I just hung new Trunk flags on my truck, I definitely support the idea.”
Several local business owners said they support the idea, but did not want to go on record saying so.
“There is so much division and people are unkind when it comes to whether or not you support Trump. It’s simply not good for business to share your thoughts publicly,” said a Clewiston restaurant owner. “I try to keep business and political beliefs separated.”
Right outside that restaurant, one resident said she was absolutely against the proposed renaming.
“After two impeachments and the insurrection, I can’t see why we would want to rename anything after him,” said long time Clewiston resident and retired teacher, Gwen Roland. “But I hear some others thinking it’s a great idea. I even read about it on the local Facebook groups. I wouldn’t support any local business that continues to support Trump.”
“The discussion is the same on social media, everyone is adamantly on one side or the other,” said Jake Davis. “Everyone in town is fighting about it. Hendry County is full of people with strong opinions.”
Chatter around town about changing the name of U.S. Highway 27, arguably one of the most important stretches of road in the area, to the “President Donald J. Trump Highway” has been going since Inauguration Day and seems to be ongoing issue.