Gov.+Ron+DeSantis+shakes+hands+with+Senate+President+Wilton+Simpson%2C+R-Trilby%2C+at+the+Capitol+in+Tallahassee+during+Opening+Day+of+the+Florida+Legislature+on+March+2%2C+2021.+DeSantis+has+endorsed+Simpson+in+the+Republican+primary+for+agriculture+commissioner%2C+ending+speculation.+Courtesy+of+Ivy+Ceballo%2FTNS.

Tribune News Service

Gov. Ron DeSantis shakes hands with Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, at the Capitol in Tallahassee during Opening Day of the Florida Legislature on March 2, 2021. DeSantis has endorsed Simpson in the Republican primary for agriculture commissioner, ending speculation. Courtesy of Ivy Ceballo/TNS.

Republican and Democratic candidates seek to win party nomination for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture

August 23, 2022

Incumbent Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried is running for governor, leaving her position open for new candidates. Fried is the only statewide-elected Democrat in Florida, so it is unclear whether Florida voters will once again choose a Democrat to be Commissioner of Agriculture or follow Florida’s growing Republican support.

The two Republicans running for Florida Commissioner for Agriculture are organic farmer James Shaw and President of the Florida Senate Wilton Simpson. 

There are three Democrats running for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture: committeewoman for the Miami Dade Democratic Executive Committee in District 15 Naomi Blemur, small business owner Ryan Morales and J.R. Gaillot, who is studying to get a Master’s in International Relations at Harvard University.

Shaw’s agricultural priorities are protecting the consumer and letting farmers farm. Simpson believes in the Right to Farm Act, the strengthening of Florida’s greenbelt protections, advocacy for Florida’s citrus growers and the support of agritourism.

Blemur’s views on agriculture are“aligned with the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations,” which are: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation, infrastructure, reduced inequality, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate act, life below water, life on land, peace and justice, strong institutions and partnerships to achieve goals.

Gaillot wants to protect farmers and the environment, improve farmer practices and protect Florida’s water through multiple practices. Morales wants to increase marijuana production in Florida and decriminalize it, something Gaillot and Blemur also support, increase usage of biofuels, clean Florida waters, use precision agriculture, improve current Best Management Practices, transform lawns into gardens, eradicate invasive species, provide incentives for small farms and put Florida first.

Shaw’s other priority is protecting the right to own guns, which Simpson agrees with. Simpson supports anti-abortion measures, reforming the foster care system, the Parent’s Bill of Rights, election integrity, fighting vaccine mandates, backing police officers, the military and veterans, expanding school choice, investing in Florida infrastructure and “keeping Florida affordable.”

Gaillot also supports making Florida affordable, as well as protecting marginalized and poor communities, eliminating predatory practices such as spam calls or identity theft and protecting children and the elderly. Blemur maintains her positions of thoroughly evaluating all applications for concealed carry, encouraging home-based food production, shifting to clean energy and building a hemp economy. 

People can learn more about Shaw, Simpson, Blemur, Gaillot and Morales’ campaign platforms and issues on their individual websites. 

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