At the end of every week, we praise a political playmaker, “swipe left” on the week’s biggest political loser, and explain what it all means for Florida’s political arena.
👍🏆 CHAMP: Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez
On Sunday, the state of Florida will host the National Football League’s (NFL) 54th Super Bowl at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
The big event is expected to draw a large number of visitors looking to enjoy the festivities of the Super Bowl LIV.
Unfortunately, the game could also attract evil that seeks to rob helpless individuals of their freedom.
Human trafficking, one of the fastest-growing crime industries in the world, continues to plague the state of Florida. According to the Human trafficking Hotline, the Sunshine State ranks third in U.S. in human trafficking cases, with California and Texas ahead.
In 2018, there were 767 human trafficking cases reported in Florida, with 1 in 5 cases involving minors. According to the United States Department of Justice, the majority of these victims are primarily used for sexual exploitation between the ages of 12 and 14.
This week, Nuñez, along with State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, made a stop in Miami to increase awareness on human trafficking ahead of Super Bowl LIV.
“Come Sunday, South Florida will see an influx of visitors as a result of Super Bowl LIV,” Nuñez said. “With such popular large-scale events, our communities are susceptible to the horrible scourge of human trafficking. Our administration is fully committed to combating this pervasive evil by working with the Department of Health and private sector partnerships to train personnel on ways to identify and support potential victims. Together, we all have a role to play to ensure our communities remain safe.”
While in Miami, Nuñez and Rivkees also stopped at the Florida Department of Health to highlight the important role the department has in identifying and helping victims of human trafficking.
“The Florida Department of Health plays a critical role in our state’s efforts to combat human trafficking,” Rivkees said, who heads the DOH.
On Friday, Nuñez’s crusade to end this modern-day enslavement was featured in Fox News.
On human trafficking, Florida is CLOSED for business. https://t.co/MHJ8FD29w6
— Jeanette M. Nunez (@LtGovNunez) January 31, 2020
👎❌ CHUMP: Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried
No, this isn’t déjà vu. Fried made our “Chump of the Week” — for the second time in two weeks — and again for good reason.
After The Capitolist broke the story over a week ago that Fried failed to comply with Florida’s ethics laws requiring her to disclose any income for 2018, the embattled agriculture commissioner filed an amended disclosure on Thursday afternoon.
Florida’s Ethics Commission makes the purpose of filing financial disclosures quite clear on their website:
Financial disclosure is required of public officials and employees because it enables the public to evaluate potential conflicts of interest, deters corruption, and increases public confidence in government.
Fried’s newly reported income of just $72,000 did little to accomplish any of those things. In no way did her most recent amended disclosure add any transparency to how she became a millionaire between June of 2018 and June of 2019. Among the outstanding questions still swirling around her net worth and wealth: where did the $166,000 bump in her checking account come from? What assets did she place in her blind trust that she says are worth $360,000? Where did they come from? Did they just materialize out of thin air?
Fried has direct oversight over medical marijuana growing, hemp, CBD oil and related industries. She’s engaged to a former medical marijuana business executive who gifted her a luxury home. Her primary lobbying client was a nursery with a license to grow medical marijuana. The potential for conflicts of interest is great. Fried must do more allow the public to evaluate those potential conflicts, precisely to restore public confidence in her governance.