Today marks the beginning of Florida’s 2019 Legislative Session. Following remarks from Speaker Oliva, President Galvano, and Governor DeSantis, Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried offers the following:
“Many of today’s comments by the Governor, President, and Speaker are an encouraging start to the legislative session.
“I agree with Speaker Oliva on the transformative potential of telehealth to expand access to care. This is especially true in rural communities where our Department is seeking federal telemedicine funding, and in the ability to deliver mental health services to Floridians in need. I also agree with the Speaker on the need to reduce pharmaceutical costs, an issue which increased access to medical marijuana can address. And we agree on our mission to support our Panhandle communities and agriculture producers devastated by Hurricane Michael.
“President Galvano and I share a commitment to collaboration, putting policy before politics, and good government – a government that reflects the will of the people we were elected to serve.
“I applaud Governor DeSantis’ call for bold action to protect Florida’s environment. Water is the lifeblood of our state. We have a moral obligation to come together to conserve our state’s lands, waters, and natural treasures, and to clean up the toxic algae, red tide, and pollution causing a public health and economic crisis for Floridians. I look forward to working closely with him to preserve the Florida our future generations will inherit.
“To be clear, we don’t agree on everything. Expanding unaccountable charter schools comes at the expense of Florida’s children in public schools, to whom we have a Constitutional responsibility to provide a world-class public education. Arming teachers makes classrooms more dangerous and distracts from learning and teaching. Demonizing immigrants – Cubans, Venezuelans, and others who come seeking freedom for their families – divides our communities and denigrates their contributions to the fabric of America.
“Our disagreements are not insignificant. But despite these divergences in opinion, I believe in a new day for our state, and I am confident we can find common ground, come together as leaders, and deliver results for the people of Florida.”