Nikki Fried laments GOP-driven culture war in Legislative Session
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 9/1/2021-Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried speaks during a news conference prior to a moment of silence to honor COVID-19 victims, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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'The last 60 days have been emotionally trying on everybody.'

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried decried the 2022 Legislative Session on Tuesday, accusing Florida Republicans of waging a politically motivated culture war while ignoring the needs of Florida and its residents.

A Democratic gubernatorial contender, Fried lambasted the Republican-driven Session as a disservice to Floridians and issued an apology on their behalf to voters.

Those voters, she contended, deserved legislation addressing “pressing issues” such as health care, affordable housing and skyrocketing property insurances rates, among others. But instead, she asserted, Republicans performed political theater, taking on a slew of hot topic issues such as abortion and immigration during an election year. 

“This Legislature is more concerned about a November election than your well-being today,” said Fried of the Republican-controlled body.

Florida’s 61-day Legislative Session concluded Monday with Republican lawmakers pounding their chest.

Spearheaded by Gov. Ron DeSantis, GOP lawmakers ushered several high-profile proposals to the Governor’s desk, many of which garnered national media attention and widespread criticism.

They established a new election fraud police force, implemented restrictions on classroom instruction about sexuality and gender, and doubled down on a crackdown against illegal immigration.

The proposals — designed to please the GOP base — drew flocks of critics into the State Capitol and garnered countless protests and demonstrations. 

Tallahassee politicians at-large — the Governor, Cabinet and lawmakers — face re-election in November.

“It appears the Republicans in Florida are more intent on power grabbing and political pandering than putting the people that they are elected to represent first,” Fried added at a press conference.

Not all, though, displeased Fried. Lawmakers, she noted, provided the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) with its largest budget yet.

The dollars will allow FDACS to replace aging aircraft, provide pay raises to all enforcement officers and expedite the processing of concealed weapons permits. It also provides millions toward citrus industry research and promotion.

The sudden rush of cash comes as Fried — an outspoken opponent of DeSantis — readies to leave office. 

Notably, Senate President Wilton Simpson — who former President Donald Trump endorsed in May — is viewed as the most likely candidate to win the office in November.

“Unfortunately, a lot of our budget historically for the last four years has been tied up in partisan politics,” Fried said. “To prolong the investment into our state until after the election is just about politics.”

Fried is vying against Congressman Charlie Crist and Democratic Sen. Annette Taddeo. The Primary winner will face DeSantis, a conservative giant ranked second at CPAC against Trump as a GOP presidential contender.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


6 comments

  • Ron Ogden

    March 15, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    Use logic, reason and common sense in legislating, and leave all the hate rages and jealousies for the soap operas.

    • Had help

      March 15, 2022 at 3:53 pm

      Republicans 2022: society does not exist

      Society 2056: republicans don’t exist

      Covid: I helped a little

  • Impeach Biden

    March 15, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    Dear Nikki Fried, Turn out the lights, the party is over. You are irrelevant now. Time to think about your transition into the private sector. Looking forward to your name being removed from every gas pump in Florida.

  • Comments

    March 15, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    It must be the super predictors

  • Comments

    March 15, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    Yeah the sun should ride in blansburg silver springs but it doesn’t

  • Antonio

    March 16, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    In all the stories Florida Politics does on Fried, I have yet to discern why she is running for Governor. Aside form bashing Desantis, and maybe legalizing pot, I have yet to hear a platform that she is running on.

Comments are closed.


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