Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried recently appeared on Facing South Florida, with Jim DeFede and responded to questions related to medical marijuana, Governor DeSantis and her political future.
Provided below is a summary of the interview.
Jim Defede: You ran on legalizing medicinal marijuana and you want to move toward legalizing recreational marijuana, are there any other drugs you support legalizing?
Fried was quick to respond that marijuana is the only drug she is in support of legalizing. However, she stated, she is aware of the push for legalizing psychedelics, but currently she does not support the move. Also, she stated marijuana is the only drug she has ever used.
Jim Defede: When are you going to announce that you are going to run for Governor of Florida in 2022?
Fried responded by saying “that’s a question I get asked every single day” and as the only statewide elected Democrat official she said she feels obligated to consider a run. She said she is seriously considering running, but at this time is only evaluating the opportunity and talking with the public and hearing from them. She added, “It’s never been about me, its about doing right for our state.”
Fried said she believes DeSantis mismanaged the response to COVID-19 and the roll out of the vaccine. She also asserted that the current unemployment system has failed our state and the education system is one of the worst performing in the country. She added that Republicans have dropped the ball.
Jim Defede: Why shouldn’t Ron DeSantis be reelected Governor?
Fried insisted that DeSantis “only focuses on a small portion of our state” and she questioned his legislative priorities. She argued that during the middle of the COVID pandemic, DeSantis has been fixated on taking down tech companies and advocating an anti-protest bill.
In contrast, Fried stated she has been focused on the pandemic and the families that are suffering as a result. Fried said her priorities are food insecurity, energy, and the climate crisis.
DeFede made the point that Fried has been quite critical of the Governor’s actions during the height of COVID-19 despite the fact that many of his policies did work. He referred to the strategy DeSantis employed for nursing homes.
Fried agreed that some of the moves that DeSantis made related to nursing homes and “reopening schools” were the right call. However, Fried said “his leadership waffled the whole time” and noted that DeSantis would often put out an order and then change it, “which caused chaos in the school districts.”
Jim Defede: The Florida Democratic Party is a complete disaster, why do you think that democrats could win statewide in 2020, when Florida has proven to be a pretty reliable red state?
Fried declared that the election in 2020 was an outlier and that there were many things that went wrong, such as the lack of coordination between the Democratic Party and elected officials. Fried said the Democrats stopped doing grassroots campaigning and did not go door to door, so in many “ways we conceded the state.”