Personnel note: Nikki Fried bolsters Ag. department’s communications staff
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried talks about a new partnership between Florida and the Biden-Harris Administration, Tuesday during a news conference Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. Image via Colin Hackley.

The new staff members are Natasha Sutherland, María Carolina "Maca" Casado and Sarah Solomon.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has added three new staff members to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Communications.

The new staff members include Natasha Sutherland, who will serve as Deputy Director of Communications, María Carolina “Maca” Casado, who will serve as Director of Hispanic Media, and Sarah Solomon, who will serve as Digital Director.

The new team members will report to Director of Communications Franco Ripple.

“Communicating all the ways in which our department helps keep Florida growing – promoting our $137 billion agriculture community, protecting our consumers from scams, fraud, and abuse, advocating for energy efficiency and cleaner water, ensuring our children are fed at school, and touching the lives of Floridians every day – is so important,” said Fried said in a news release.

Sutherland joins the department after serving as the Deputy Director of Communications in the Florida House Democratic Caucus Office of the Minority Leader where she previously served as a legislative policy analyst.

She began her work in the Legislature as a journal editor in the Florida House.

Sutherland speaks three languages, and has served as an adjunct professor and language instructor at the Florida State University, Troy University and Central Texas College, along with other teaching experience. She has earned her bachelor’s and two Master’s degrees from the FSU.

Casado, who will be based in Miami, will spearhead the department’s outreach to statewide Hispanic media. She most recently served as regional press secretary for the Biden-Harris presidential campaign in Florida.

Before that, Casado worked as press secretary for former U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala’s 2018 campaign, as well as the Hispanic press director for David Richardson’s Congressional campaign. She was also the Hispanic press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in Florida.

She has also served as a senior producer for TV Venezuela in Miami and as chief editor of International News for Glóbovision in Caracas, Venezuela.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Santa Maria in Venezuela, as well as a Certificate in News, TV and Radio from Universidad Central de Venezuela.

Solomon serves as the governance and media production coordinator at the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, working as multimedia point person on numerous digital, video and social media initiatives.

She has also served as lead videographer and editor at Unique Video Creations in Tallahassee, and previously worked in the Panama City office of former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, providing constituent services and in-district media relations and video.

She began her career as a general assignment reporter for WMBB-TV, the ABC affiliate in Panama City, where she covered the station’s county government beat. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida.

“Natasha, Maca, and Sarah each have deep professional experience, profound creative vision, and a great appreciation for the various missions of FDACS, and I’m excited to welcome them to our team sharing our work for Floridians with the state and nation.”

The FDACS Office of Communications provides news on programs, policies and initiatives of the department, covering the 19 divisions of the $1.7 billion state agency.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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