TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida will usher in a new era on Tuesday with the inauguration of newly-elected state leaders.
Ron DeSantis will become the state's 46th Governor as he and Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez are sworn-in at 11 a.m. at the historical Florida Capitol in Tallahassee.
- Nikki Fried talks medical marijuana, guns and future
- Fried will be sworn in as Florida Ag. Commissioner on Tuesday
- RELATED: Spectrum News will have extended live team coverage Monday and Tuesday. List of events below
Incoming Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried will also be sworn in.
Fried will become the first woman elected to the position of Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Terry Lee Rhodes served in the job for five months by governor’s appointment in 2001.
She will also be the first Democrat to hold the job in some 20 years, making her a political minority on the Florida Cabinet where Republicans hold a majority.
Fried says the political imbalance does not mean a constant political divide.
"I honestly believe there is going to be common ground," Fried told Spectrum News’ Greg Angel in an exclusive interview Sunday. "We were all elected by the people and we want to see the State of Florida flourish for generations to come."
Fried said she and Republican Governor-elect Ron DeSantis may differ on many policy issues, but they do agree on others, including the environment.
"As a Democrat there are definitely policies and issues that I’m going to fight very hard for that are Democratic in nature, but on the other side there are going to be things we’re going to be able, regardless of political affiliation, we recognize we’re voting to represent the State of Florida," she said. "So policies have to be forward-thinking on these issues and less concerned about the R or D next to our names and being good states-people for the State of Florida."
Fried will take command of an agency that oversees a wide variety of regulations and issues, including fuel, weights and measures, agriculture, and gun licenses.
Outgoing Commissioner Adam Putnam faced scrutiny in 2018 during his bid to become Florida Governor after it was revealed that agency employees failed to conduct proper background checks on tens of thousands of concealed weapon applicants.
"During the entire campaign I said what has happened is not acceptable," Fried said. "We have started to analyze what (two) inspector general reports have said were the issues…see how things are happening at this moment and how we can actually go in there and make logistical changes to better serve our Floridians and protect them."
While Fried spoke at length about a focus on helping improve economic opportunities for farmers in Florida, a marquee issue of her campaign was expanding access to medical marijuana.
Fried said Sunday she plans to quick release agency rules allowing edible medical marijuana to be obtained by those with licenses.
"…making sure it’s not just accessible, but it’s affordable," Fried said. "You do that by expanding the providers, expanding to make sure we have enough growers and people involved in the process. So, that needs to be changed, and we need to make sure there are more growers out there to make sure that now edibles are becoming available that so many of our patients need."
Fried will officially be sworn in at the state’s next Agriculture on Tuesday alongside other elected officials.
Spectrum News has a team of reporters covering Inauguration:
Elected officials plan to host a series of events. Lieutenant Governor-elect Jeannette Nunez will host an even Monday to showcase women leadership in Florida.
Nunez will become Florida’s third Lieutenant Governor, but the first Hispanic woman to hold the job. Ashley Moody will be Florida’s second female Attorney General as Fried becomes the first full time female Agriculture Commissioner.
Governor-elect Ron DeSantis will also host events honoring military, veterans, and law enforcement officers from across the state.