With all the inaugural festivities surrounding Florida’s new governor, don’t forget the political significance of the two women who also were sworn in on Tuesday to top statewide posts.
Both females — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Attorney General Ashley Moody — will now make up two-thirds of the Florida Cabinet, the body that works with the Florida governor on significant issues ranging from the environment to statewide finances.
The third member of the Cabinet – and now the only male member – is Jimmy Patronis, the Chief Financial Officer. He too was sworn in on Tuesday.
Both Fried and Moody are attorneys -graduating from the same law school, University of Florida.
One big difference: Fried is a Democrat and the first female elected to the Agriculture Commissioner post, and Moody is a Republican. Moody was sworn in Tuesday by her father, James S. Moody, Jr., a senior U.S. District Judge for the Middle District of Florida.
In a news release, Moody said: I am deeply honored to serve the citizens of this great state as Florida’s 38th Attorney General,” said Attorney General Moody. “As Florida’s top legal officer, I will seek justice for all Floridians, defend the rule of law and protect our State and our citizens from crime and fraud.”
Fried will be the only Democrat of the three Cabinet members. The governor, Ron DeSantis, is Republican. Fried replaces Adam Putnam, and Moody replaces Pam Bondi.
Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo congratulated Fried on Tuesday, saying, “It is a new chapter in Florida with Commissioner Nikki Fried in the Cabinet. Commissioner Fried’s swearing-in represents the first time Democrats will oversee the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the first time in eight years Democrats have had a voice in Florida’s Cabinet.”
Rizzo also said Fried will stand up to the National Rifle Association (NRA), and be a champion for the environment. And as the only Democrat on the state’s clemency board, Rizzo said, Fried will play a critical role in making sure the voter-approved Constitutional Amendment 4 – allowing certain felons to restore voting rights – will be fully implemented.
The first Cabinet meeting following the inauguration is Friday.