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Nikki Fried Says She Can Bring Fresh Perspective To The Dept. Of Agriculture

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Andrea Perdomo
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WGCU NEWS
Florida’s Democratic candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried, greets people at a fundraiser at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater in Fort Myers.";

Florida’s Democratic candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried, was in Fort Myers for a fundraising event at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater on Tuesday. 

Fried is the first woman from either major party  to snag a nomination for the seat in Florida. The position  is also her first attempt at holding public office.

"Go big or go home right?" Fried said. "I've always been somebody who's a trailblazer. I see where I can make the biggest impact. I am not running to be something; I'm running to do something."

If elected, Fried said she hopes to make medical marijuana available to those who need it, create a pathway for farmers to grow industrial hemp, overhaul the concealed weapons permit process and improve the state’s water quality.

"We have seen for eight years the current administration really just not prioritizing our environment, not prioritizing the people of the state of Florida," Fried said. 

Fried was born and raised in Miami. After graduating form Miami Palmetto Senior High School, she went to the University of Florida where she received a bachelor's degree in political science, a law degree and a master's in political campaigning.

Fried has worked in corporate law and also as a public defender.  She has spent the last several years as a lobbyist in Tallahassee.  She said that experience has prepared her for the position -- should she win.  

“I know enough to be dangerous. I know where the bodies are buried when it comes to policy and where it comes to the budgeting process, and so, I know enough to know how to fix it,” Fried said.

Fried also said she believes not being a career politician gives her a fresh perspective on how to improve the lives of Floridians.

“I come in there with this wide-eyed, bushy-tailed new perspective on things and say, ‘We can do better.’ The citizens of Florida deserve that.”

Her opponent, Republican Matt Caldwell of Fort Myers, has spent the last eight years in the Florida House of Representatives.

The two will face each other in the upcoming November election.

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.