Democrats, agriculture groups celebrate Nikki Fried’s White House partnership
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.

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The plan marks Florida’s first major coordination effort with the White House.

Democrats and agriculture and cannabis group leaders are praising Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried‘s partnership with the Biden administration on a broad spectrum of issues.

The 30-page plan, FDACS Biden-Harris Administration Partnership Plan: Keeping Florida & America Growing, outlines 40 areas where the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services can collaborate with the White House and federal agencies such as the U.S. departments of Agriculture, Energy and Commerce. Policy suggestions range from water and rural broadband issues to cannabis, diversity and more.

Florida Politics first reported the partnership between FDACS and Joe Biden’s White House last week. Fried is Florida’s lone statewide-elected Democrat and a Florida Cabinet member.

At the federal level, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist lauded the Commissioner for taking the initiative to cultivate a federal and state partnership, which he said would help the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Ron DeSantis was close with President Donald Trump, allowing the state several perks, but he has already butted heads with Biden’s nascent administration.

“As Governor, whether working to ban offshore drilling or help our state recover from the Great Recession, I knew firsthand that Florida is best served when Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., are on the same page,” Crist said in a statement. “I’m proud to join Commissioner Fried in working at both the state and federal levels to advance these priorities in Congress. Solidifying and strengthening this partnership is the right thing to do for our state and Pinellas families.”

The plan includes provisions addressing climate change and energy efficiency in the agriculture industry. U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings praised the plan for focusing on climate, economic and racial equity.

“Florida’s perilous position on the frontlines of the global climate crisis requires its leaders to take pragmatic and meaningful steps to address the growing threats posed by natural disasters,” Hastings said. “Commissioner Fried’s comprehensive partnership proposal to the Biden-Harris Administration, the first of its kind, now places Florida in a frontline position to keep Florida and America growing.”

Other Democrats in Florida’s delegation are lauding the plan, including Reps. Val Demings, Lois Frankel and Stephanie Murphy.

State Sens. Loranne AusleyLori Berman and Perry Thurston already hailed the compact upon its announcement. House Democratic Co-Leader Evan Jenne of Dania Beach joined in their praise Thursday.

“This plan represents something that has been sorely missing from Florida for quite some time: a comprehensive and realistic set of policies to move our state forward into the 21st century,” Jenne said. “I commend Commissioner Fried for the vision and intellectual capacity to address the wide ranging issues affecting Floridians under her department’s purview. Whether it be protecting the environment, reforming cannabis laws, or ensuring the dietary needs of all children are met, this plan has something to improve the quality of life for all of us.”

One section of the plan addresses cannabis policy modernization, including legalizing marijuana. That and Fried’s role in establishing the state’s hemp program drew praise from NORML Political Director Justin Strekal.

“We sincerely appreciate her outspoken leadership on this area and hope that other policy makers will be similarly inspired to take up the mantle of the growing chorus for comprehensive reform,” he said.

Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association President Mike Joyner said the Commissioner has championed farmers seeking relief after being harmed by decades of unfair trade practices.

“Florida growers of specialty crops need cost-effective, adequate crop insurance as they navigate difficult and ever-changing agricultural and economic conditions,” he said. “We welcome all opportunities to partner with FDACS, grower associations and the new administration to improve and expand crop insurance.”

Winnie Stachelberg, of the Center for American Progress and Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick also praised Fried’s work on insurance and the pandemic.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


2 comments

  • Ron Ogden

    February 11, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    She’s been in office two years and this is “Florida’s first major coordination effort with the White House”? Florida agriculture has been on hold for two years? Or she is a partisan hack? I’ll bet on the latter.

  • tjb

    February 12, 2021 at 9:30 am

    Ron,

    I bet that DeSantis’s good buddy, Trump, the guy who lost the election in a landslide, would not allow an intelligent and strong woman to be a part of this effort. I also bet that DeSantis is afraid of Nikki and his tough rhetoric is only a veil to cover his weakness as a man and leader.

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