PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature is apparently done looking at Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Fried, the lone Democrat in the Florida Cabinet, has affixed a picture of her face to gas pumps throughout the state.
Every time the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services conducts a gas pump inspection, a certification sticker is affixed to it. Unlike her Republican predecessor Adam Putnam, who used the department's logo instead of his photograph, Fried is using her portrait to put a face with the name.
Max Flugrath, a spokesman for Fried, told Local10.com in an email that the new decal is intended to "drive consumer awareness and gain attention around our consumer fraud resources, and it seems to be working."
But not everyone is happy about it.
Evan Power, chairman of the Leon County Republican Party in Tallahassee, took to Twitter to blast the decal, writing Tuesday that it "looks like an election ad."
Great to see this reporting. I can’t believe the AG Commissioner’s office thought it was ok to go with what looks like an election ad https://t.co/978wc3PKJF— Evan Power (@EvanPower) May 7, 2019
Fried's smiling face may have even been the driving force behind Section 92 of a budget-implementation bill that requires the stickers to have "only a combination of lettering, numbering, words or the department logo."
The implementation bill takes effect July 1, which could force Fried's office to swap out the stickers.
Flugrath said at least 84,000 decals "and counting" have already been placed on gas pumps throughout the state.
"We're reviewing the implementing language to see if any changes may be needed for future decal revisions," Flugrath said.
Fried, 41, is an attorney from Fort Lauderdale. She narrowly defeated Republican nominee Matt Caldwell in the November election and is the first woman elected to the position.