Florida’s top elected Democrat claims Gov. Ron DeSantis has divided Florida for his own political purposes.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is hoping to run against DeSantis in the 2022 election, spoke Saturday morning to The Villages Democratic Club at Colony Cottage Recreation Center.
“The problem with this governor is he has done such a job in dividing our state. Instead of recognizing that he is the governor of the whole state, he only chooses issues which motivate his base,” Fried said in an interview with Villages-News.com at the event.
Fried, an attorney and former student body president at the University of Florida, said she believes DeSantis has his eye on the White House and that he has mastered the Donald Trump playbook.
“Look at what happened during this last legislative session. His No. 1 priority is to take down the media companies who dared to kick President Trump off social media platforms. His second was to put black and brown people in jail for voicing their opinions during peaceful protests,” she said.
She said DeSantis also championed “one of the worst voter suppression bills in the nation.”
The net effect has been creating deep divisions in the Sunshine State
“So what he has done is to do everything in his power to divide our state and create additional hate. That is not the job of the governor,” she said.
Fried also was critical of DeSantis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said DeSantis has blocked reporting by the state of COVID-19 numbers. She claimed he has not been transparent regarding the Delta variant and that Florida has the highest number of people infected by the Delta variant.
Jen Platt, volunteer coordinator for The Villages Democratic Club, said Fried’s appearance, which packed the house, makes her job easier.
“They are recruiting right at the door,” said the Village of Lake Deaton resident, “We grab them when we see them.”
Fried will likely face former Gov. Charlie Crist in the Democratic primary.