Gaston Cantens is a Vice President of Florida Crystals Corporation, where his responsibilities include corporate relations, communications and government affairs. Florida Crystals is a leading, vertically integrated sugar company with headquarters in Palm Beach County, Florida, where Cantens is primarily based. During the months of legislative session, Cantens resides in the state’s capital, Tallahassee.
Florida Crystals farms 187,000 acres of land in Palm Beach County, where the company also has two sugar mills, a sugar refinery, a rice mill, a packaging and distribution and a biomass power plant. In its renewable energy facility, Florida Crystals recycles sugar cane fiber and municipal wood waste as fuel to power its sugar operations and tens of thousands of homes. Florida Crystals’ power plant is the largest of its kind in North America.
As part of his responsibilities, Gaston Cantens is a leader of the Florida Crystals’ public policy team, a position for which he is uniquely qualified. In 1998, Cantens was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. During his three terms in the House, he served in various leadership positions, including Majority Whip, and was consistently ranked as one of the most effective legislators in the Florida House. The main issues Cantens worked on as a legislator included domestic violence, criminal justice, child custody and administrative procedures. In 2003, Cantens was a finalist under consideration by Gov. Jeb Bush to succeed retiring Lt. Governor Frank Brogan.
Gaston Cantens began his professional career as a school teacher and coached basketball at the high school and college levels. He was also an adjunct professor at Miami-Dade College, St. Thomas University School of Law and Florida State University College of Law. Beyond the Legislature, Cantens’ public service included time spent as an Assistant State Attorney and Assistant Chief of the County Court Division in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
Gaston Cantens holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and a juris doctor degree from St. Thomas University.