Nikki Fried blasts Florida GOP leadership at Hillsborough Dems meeting
The Commissioner slammed the Governor again.

nikki fried
Fried is pillorying DeSantis over his COVID-19 response.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried took her messaging against Gov. Ron DeSantis to Hillsborough County Monday night, speaking during a virtual meeting of the Hillsborough County Democrats.

Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat, has been a vocal critic of DeSantis, first because he attempted to strip the state’s energy office from her department, and then later because he snubbed her from the Re-open Florida Task Force, the only member of the cabinet to be left off.

Now Fried is pillorying DeSantis over his COVID-19 response, calling for voters to remember that elections have consequences.

“If you don’t know now why elections count and why elections matter, you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months,” Fried said.

She responded to criticism that the pandemic has become a partisan bickering tool with Democrats bashing Republicans and vice versa. That divide, she explained, is not happening out of angst but rather because of deep divides in ideology.

Democrats, she said, “think about people first and not their ego or image,” a shot clearly directed at President Donald Trump.

Fried also criticized DeSantis for his handling of the state’s broken unemployment system, arguing his messaging has lacked empathy and answers, and instead shifted blame to anyone but his administration.

“We have people who are nervous,” Fried said, lamenting DeSantis’ blame targeting Department of Economic Opportunity head Ken Lawson and former Gov. Rick Scott.

“At some point, the Governor also has to own that he’s been in office for a year and a half, and these unemployment problems were told to him,” she continued. “Now, he’s blaming the citizens of the state for filling out the forms incorrectly.”

DeSantis has been held to account during media appearances where he has openly expressed frustration with the onslaught of questions, at one point claiming that “99.99%” of unemployment claimants had been paid and questioning whether a reporter vetted sources claiming they weren’t, asking if the reporter had verified their Social Security number for eligibility, a source of sensitive information, clearly not likely to be shared with members of the media.

Her overall message was simple: Floridians must send Joe Biden to the White House and more Democrats to the Florida Legislature.

“I’m lonely in Tallahassee. I certainly have some friends but would love some more Democratic friends,” Fried said. “We need more like-minded individuals.”

Stepping away from partisan disputes, Fried also shared efforts her office has undertaken in recent weeks and months to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Fried launched a series of Summer Break Spot locations throughout the state, 1,600 of them, to provide meals to kids out of school. Her office also worked with community partners to establish food pantries where struggling families can access healthy food.

The department has also been working closely with the agricultural community, the state’s second-largest industry, as it battles with lost revenue as crops go wasted through produce dumps, getting plowed under or left on vines to rot.

About 522 million pounds of produce was wasted, Fried said.

To help, Fried’s office asked major grocers to begin purchasing more locally-sourced produce and for consumers to do the same.

Her office established a “Farm to You” website where consumers can identify local farmers to purchase produce directly. Within about a month, Fried said the page had about 500,000 views.

Farmers, she said, have gone from preparing about 40 boxes of produce a week for direct sales to 400 during the coronavirus crisis.

She called it a “consumer awakening.”

“I hope that when this is all said and done, you’re going to start seeing that more and more,” Fried said.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

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 [email protected]


3 comments

  • JIM KAAT

    May 19, 2020 at 7:06 am

    Many Americans protesting across the country firmly believe the Democrats would be more than willing to completely destroy the economy if it meant getting rid of President Trump. They’ve tried everything else. American citizens aren’t willing to sacrifice their homes, careers, jobs and businesses, 401K for another leftist attempt to remove a President.

    Democrat Platform & Goals:
    (Democrat Taxpayers pay close attention, you’ll pay too)

    -End all deportations of illegal aliens, if you get here, you stay. Bernie’s website calls it a “moratorium” on deportations.
    Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    -Citizenship for 20 to 50 million illegal aliens, DACA & TPS recipients with a cost of billions. Democrats Yes. Republicans No.

    -De-fund & terminate border patrol & ICE.
    Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    -Free Health Care for Illegal aliens, DACA, TPS recipients (taxpayer funded with one estimate at 52 trillion)
    Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    -Ending of all private / employer based health care. “Medicare for all”, Feds run everything.
    Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    -Illegal Aliens eligible for welfare & food stamps. (Elizabeth Warrens plan adopted) Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No

    -Free college for all, including illegal aliens (taxpayer funded estimates in the billions. If you vote Democrat, don’t expect to put Junior in college…..BUT you will finance the education of illegal aliens. Democrats Yes. Republicans No.

    -Decriminalization of illegal entry into our country.
    Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    -Sanctuary Cities & States.
    Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    -Open Borders.
    Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    -Massive tax increases. All Democrat candidates have committed to tax increases of various amounts.
    Democrats Yes tax increases.
    Republicans No tax increases.

    -Reparations for race’s harmed by Caucasians. Joe committed this to “Reverend” Al Sharpton, support for Sheila Jackson Lee’s racist reparations bill in the House. Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    -Drivers licenses for illegal aliens.(already happening in states with Democrat leadership) Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    -Opposed to ANY voter ID Laws.(Nancy Pelosi wanted this amendment in the first corona virus bill) I wonder why?
    Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    -AOC’s green new deal.(which would create massive unemployment, 100,000 jobs estimated in the transportation industry alone.)
    Democrats Yes.
    Republicans No.

    There is no moderate wing of the Democrat party people. If you vote for Joe Biden, you are voting for Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren’s platform.. Joe will follow the radical left’s agenda or Joe won’t get the support and he is…. of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Valerie Jarrett,. Rashida Talib, Stacy Abrams, Ayanna Pressley, Nancy Pelosi, Sheila Jackson Lee, Tom Perez, Maxine Waters, Al Green, and llhan Omar. This is the core of the socialists leftist wing of the Democrat party and they are firmly in charge.. Most or all have already endorsed Joe Biden, so he obviously has committed to their agenda.

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      May 19, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Spot on. Nikki Fried is rife with ego and conflict of interest as her fiancé is involved in cannabis

      • Max

        May 19, 2020 at 5:52 pm

        Conservatives are traitors.

Comments are closed.


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