TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — On Tuesday, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried posted a press release on her website about “Governor Ron DeSantis’ continued attacks on schools and education in Florida.” She criticized the governor for “working to lower standards” for teaching positions, including the new plan to certify veterans to fill the gap in teacher shortages across the state.
As the election draws closer, Fried uses her influence and office as agriculture commissioner for political persuasion – flouting Florida's established ethics standards in politics. On a weekly basis, she has attacked state executive offices on social media, through news releases, and at in-person press conferences in her quest to win the gubernatorial primary for the Democratic Party on August 23.
Last October, Fried released misinformation regarding the number of students who had contracted COVID-19 in schools. According to a statement by the Florida Department of Health, the data quality check revealed calculation errors and incomplete information.
MOONLIGHTING IN MONKEYPOX
On August 1, Fried held a press conference on monkeypox to raise local awareness of cases in Florida. She spoke alongside Robert Boo and Dr. Zachary Henry, giving updates on the disease as you would expect from a member of the Department of Health.
Shortly after, Jeremy Redfern, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health, tweeted, “We had a mom reach out today asking about monkeypox vaccine. She was concerned for herself, her three children, and her husband. This is why FDACS and @NikkiFried need to stay away from public health. She’s scaring people that have virtually no risk from monkeypox.”
Later that week, Fried publicly bashed the governor on Twitter after he suspended Hillsborough County state attorney Andrew Warren. She called the governor a “wannabe dictator.”
In front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse that Friday morning, Fried argued that Warren was lawfully “protecting the rights” of Hillsborough County residents by using his prosecutorial discretion. “This is a local issue that needed to have stayed local,” she said.
As commissioner of agriculture, Fried’s job is to support and regulate Florida’s agricultural industry. She is responsible for conserving water and soil resources, managing state forests, and protecting consumers from unfair trade practices.