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Ben Diamond ups his call for a Cabinet meeting after Nikki Fried reports cold shoulder

Fried claims DeSantis has refused to meet with her.

Rep. Ben Diamond reiterated his call for Gov. Ron DeSantis to convene a meeting of the independently elected Florida Cabinet after reports that DeSantis hasn’t even spoken to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

“Now more than ever, the Governor and Cabinet need to be meeting in the sunshine to coordinate the state’s response to COVID-19,”  Diamond, a Democrat from St. Petersburg, said. “The Governor should not use this state of emergency to put off Cabinet meetings. The Governor and Cabinet should come together and work collaboratively and publicly  to help all Floridians during this crisis.”

The cabinet includes Fried, Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

Diamond previously wrote Patronis on March 23 and DeSantis last week urging public, transparent oversight of a dozen state agencies and the Florida Retirement System, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, and funds invested for local governments throughout the state.

Specifically in his latest letter, Diamond said the four statewide elected leaders should discuss efforts to ensure law enforcement have personal protective equipment; verify that the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs is providing any available assistance to veterans suffering from the virus; ensure that financial and insurance regulators are protecting and assisting Floridians; and consider recommendations from the Division of Bond Finance on how state debt should be managed at this time.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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