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Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

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Nikki Fried smacks Ron DeSantis for ‘failing to do his job’

Ongoing Plaza Level squabble continues.

Gov. Ron DeSantis likely sees himself as an active Governor, but Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services says he isn’t getting it done.

An email from Florida Consumers First, a political committee aligned with Commissioner Nikki Fried, paints a grim picture of a do-nothing DeSantis, saying “our Governor needs to do his job.”

“For months,” Fried lamented, “I’ve asked for updates on Florida’s unemployment disaster, questionable health data, the $2 billion hole in our state budget, millions of families going hungry, and wildfires that forced thousands to evacuate. And what happened?”

“DeSantis ignored all of it,” Fried lamented. “DeSantis is refusing to answer our questions. He’s refusing to be accountable to the people who gave him and I both 4 million votes. But we’re continuing the pressure.”

The latest example of that pressure, or at least an attempt thereof, came during last week’s Cabinet meeting, in which the Commissioner’s attempts to get issues of priority to her addressed were thwarted by DeSantis.

“There is no reason in the midst of a global pandemic that has seen over 2,300 Floridians perish, over 51,000 sickened and over 1 million Floridians unemployed that this cabinet should not have met since February to consider state business,” Fried said, saying the Cabinet was “left in the dark.”

“Each of us was independently elected by the people of this great state,” Fried said. “Each of us received more than 4 million votes and were put here to do a job. And for the most critical nearly 4 months of this pandemic, this cabinet has been left in the dark.”

The relationship between the Governor’s Office and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has been frayed all year.

Fried spent much of the 2020 Legislative Session trying to repel a bid, backed by DeSantis, to move the Office of Energy out of her domain. She succeeded in the end, but not after numerous press availabilities slamming the Governor for a partisan power play.

More recently, the Commissioner called into question the state’s COVID 19 stats, saying people “can’t trust the information” after the dismissal of a former data scientist.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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