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TV20 goes one-on-one with Florida Agriculture Commissioner and 2022 gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced she’s running for governor in 2022.

TV20′s Lisa Sacaccio spoke one-on-one with Fried on why she feels she can win the Democratic nomination and what her primary focus will be on the campaign trail.

Full transcript of the interview:

Q: Before DeSantis, you do have to go up against Charlie Crist and he served in multiple offices, including a term as the state Republican governor. So how do you plan to win over the Democratic Party in Florida?

Fried: “Well first of all, we all know Charlie- Charlie has been around a long time, and I’m really kind of disappointed that he decided to vacate his congressional seat, knowing how important our Democratic majority is in Washington DC. But when I talk to people of our state and I share our vision and mission for the state and how we are going to represent all people, they are going to listen to that, and they are going to understand this is the right path forward, and we are going to get their support. I’m the same person who I was back growing up to who I am today- from when I was at the University of Florida serving as Student Body President, to my time as a public defender, also in Alachua County, fighting injustice in the criminal justice system, doing Habitat for Humanity and soup kitchens back in high school- I’m the same person I was. I will continue to be a fighter for the people of our state, and I will demonstrate that this is the right path forward that we will all take together.”

RELATED STORY: DeSantis signs $100B Florida budget after vetoing $1.5B

Q: You are also a marijuana lobbyist you have a medical marijuana card and even tweeting back in April, “2022 will be a referendum on marijuana and getting rid of any elected standing in the way” so how will marijuana legalization help Floridians?

Fried: “Well this- I can go on a soapbox for this one. First and foremost, the reason why- part of my message to the people of this state is the system is corrupt and keeps people down, and there’s no better example than our marijuana positioning here in our state. And so when we go into adult use and legalization, not only are we creating an economic opportunity for so many of our Floridians bringing in additional tax revenue that can go towards affordable housing, infrastructure, education. But it also is an opportunity for us to change the criminal justice system. You know- again, I saw this firsthand when I was in the public defender’s office right there in Alachua County- the injustice of that system and seeing how many people, black and brown, that are going to jail for simple possession charges. And now we’ve got people- white men, across our entire country who are making millions upon millions of dollars, where black and brown men are still going to jail and prison for the same exact activities. So one, it’s a social justice issue. Second, is for criminal justice reform. Not only are we going to be able to reduce our cost for public defenders, our state attorneys, our courthouses, but also our jail system and allowing us to use some of those revenues for other things in our state budget. But it’s also an opportunity to shake down our healthcare system and shake down the costs. Because now when people have access to cannabis they can get off of opioids, get off the pharmaceutical drugs, create a better way of life. Which will in essence, reduce health care costs. So this is a win-win for our state: economic boosts, reduction of criminal justice costs, reduction of our healthcare system costs, and again, social justice reform.”

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