Fried Faces Criticism From Florida Progressives

Fried Faces Criticism From Florida Progressives

Fried receiving incoming fire from all sides

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
June 22, 2021

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) is facing tough competition from Florida Rep. Charlie Crist (D) in the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial primary contest. While she’s championed progressive policies and efforts to address environmental concerns, some progressives are arguing that Commissioner Fried has not done enough to further progressive change or to push back against Republican opposition.

On August 30th, 2019, Fried faced controversy over receiving a $25,000 contribution from Florida Power & Light Company. The contribution came at a time when her office was debating a move to remove energy-efficient standards, which confused environmental activists.

Susan Glickman, the Florida director of the nonprofit Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, appeared in a campaign video for Rep. Crist, where she said that  “while Commissioner Nikki Fried talks a good game about climate change, our review of actual accomplishments do not add up to the rhetoric.”

Glickman has not formally announced an endorsement for either candidate, but the comments are critical of Fried’s last two years in office.

“Given the severity of the climate crisis, we’re way past the time for talk without significant actions to solve the problem,” she added.

Critics have emphasized that she hasn’t done much to respond to climate change concerns, but Franco Ripple, her agency spokesperson, responded with a 10-page rebuttal, calling her an “environmental champion.” In the rebuttal, Ripple discusses a number of issues including Lake Okeechobee, protecting farms and rural landscapes, and affirming that the FDACS “has been completely revitalized and refocused with a mission to address climate change, energy efficiency, and energy conservation.”

Max Flugrath, the spokesperson for the Fried campaign, came to her defense as well, adding that Commissioner “Fried has unapologetically and frequently spoken out in opposition of bad legislation and in support of Democratic priorities and bills.”

He commented that if Florida were to elect Fried as Governor, “she will have the ability to veto legislation harmful for our state, while continuing her record of getting things done for Florida.”

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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