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Nikki Fried is partnering with the Florida Nonprofit Alliance for a ‘Charitable Giving Survey’ to measure charitable giving by Floridians. Image via the Sun-Sentinel.


Nikki Fried adds new Deputy Commissioner, Veterans Affairs Director, other new hires

The Ag. Commish hired a new Deputy Commissioner and Veterans Affairs Director.

Nikki Fried continues to staff up the burgeoning Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.

Fried’s office has added a new Deputy Commissioner, Veterans Affairs Director, and additional external affairs leadership roles. Deborah Tannenbaum, a veteran of Florida’s agriculture community, will serve as Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Deborah Tannenbaum, an experienced veteran of Florida agriculture, to the Department as we work to support our state’s farmers and ranchers,” said Fried.

“Deborah will play a key role in ensuring our agriculture community has the tools they need to remain competitive and successful.”

Tannenbaum is a Lake City native who previously worked previously as the Executive Director of the Florida Peanut Federation, a trade group which works on behalf of Florida peanuts. She’s also served chief of staff for Cannae Policy Group, a government affairs firm in Washington, D.C.

“Agriculture is Florida’s second largest economic driver, one that is key to our state history and future,” Tannenbaum added.

“We have a long agricultural heritage that I’m proud to have the opportunity to support. As Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture, I will work closely with Commissioner Fried to ensure our agriculture community is prepared to face tomorrow’s challenges — because when Florida growers and ranchers succeed, Florida succeeds.”

Ed Rodriguez, a U.S. Navy veteran, will be the Department’s Director of Veterans’ Affairs, a new position established to ensure Florida’s veterans have a voice within the Department. Rodriguez also worked as deputy policy director for Gwen Graham‘s 2018 gubernatorial primary campaign. He moved to the same role for Andrew Gillum‘s campaign in the general election.

Helen Miller and Dick Crockett will serve as External Affairs Directors for the Central and North Florida regions, respectively.

Miller is the former Central Florida Regional Director for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and also worked for former state Rep. Karen Castor.


Crockett has more than two decades of experience in Florida agriculture, as both an executive and owner in the citrus and beef industries.

“Florida is home to more than 1.5 million veterans, and one of our Department’s priorities will be ensuring our veterans have access to information, resources, and opportunities within our agriculture industry,” Fried said.

“Ed will be instrumental in delivering on that mission, and as a consumer protection resource for our veterans. Helen and Dick have deep roots in their communities, and will help us continue building an accessible, responsive Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service.”

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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