Nikki Fried Demands “State of Emergency” Over High Prices, DeSantis’ Office Claps Back: ‘We Are Not a Communist Country’

By Lydia Nusbaum, Florida's Voice

May 19, 2022 Updated 1:45 PM ET

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May 19, 2022 Updated 1:41 P.M. ET

TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office called it “political grandstanding” for Florida Democrat Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried to urge him to issue an emergency declaration that she claims would ease high food and gas prices.

Fried, who is also running for Governor, said that an emergency order would suspend statutory provisions that “prohibit gasoline retailers from selling gasoline below cost to customers.”

“We need to be doing everything possible to help lower prices for Floridians in need, and I am eager to take this step to lower gas prices- which my Department can only take during a state of emergency,” Fried said in the letter. 

Fried’s letter blamed the high cost of food and gas on Vladimir Putin’s and lingering supply chain issues from the pandemic. 

Governor Press Secretary Christina Pushaw said Fried is not acknowledging the “true causes” of the gas price spike and said her proposed policy is “political grandstanding” that “does not make sense.”

“We are not a communist country; no state government has the authority to set price controls for retailers selling gas or other goods,” Pushaw said. “Government forcing retailers to sell fuel at a loss would lead many to go bankrupt and out of business, which would cause massive shortages – and higher gas prices than ever.”

Pushaw claps back on the notion that gas and food prices are due only to Putin and the supply chain. Pushaw said the Biden Administration had “repeated failures.”

DeSantis’ office called on Biden to “unleash domestic fuel production.” 

Pushaw said the Biden Administration’s decision to reverse the Trump Administration’s drilling decisions in the Arctic and the Biden Administration canceling additional land leases for domestic fuel production have scared off the “needed investment” in the oil and gas sector to keep gas prices high in America. 

Pushaw also pointed out the Biden Administration’s indication that the U.S. will start easing sanctions on Venezuala’s communist dictatorship to import oil from there. 

“Governor DeSantis is doing what he can at the state level to aid Floridians facing these inflated gas prices,” Pushaw said. 

The Governor signed a “record number” of tax holidays, including reducing the gas tax by $0.25 per gallon on October 1st. 

The Governor has also focused on keeping Florida’s budgets in good standing coupled with a low tax burden. 

“Commissioner Fried would better serve Floridians by using her platform to call attention to the problems with the Biden Administration’s foreign and domestic policies that have contributed to the spike in fuel prices,” Pushaw said. “Perhaps the President would be more inclined to listen to valid criticism if it came from a prominent politician in his own party.”

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