"We are going to see families pulled out from Florida simply because they are afraid of being racially labeled"
Nikki Fried leads the Democratic offensive in the Republican state. In an exclusive dialogue with LPO, she questions DeSantis' immigration law and speaks to the Latino electorate.

The Florida Democrats radically changed their strategy. The electoral failure of the moderate and former Republican Charlie Crist, in November 2022, pushed them to modify the strategy. Now the chair of the party is the Democratic lawyer Nikki Fried. The former Agriculture Commissioner is more than 22 years younger and has a much more combative profile than Crist's.

The crisis that Ron DeSantis' presidential candidacy is going through in turn works as a shot of adrenaline for Fried and her followers. "We succeeded: DeSantis is not going to be president of the United States," she enthuses.

These days Fried leads a proselytizing tour titled Take Back Florida. Her plan is to visit 18 counties over the next month. In a pause during her frantic tour of the state, the potential candidate for governor confirms LPO that the blue party will invest 1 million dollars to reduce the gap that separates them from the Republicans in voter registration. The difference is more than 500,000 people. The Democrat's goal is to reduce 35% the distance by November.

Unidos por un mismo déficit, republicanos y demócratas ignoran las grandes diferencias que existen entre los hispanos

Fried also repudiates a controversial decision just made by DeSantis. Governor suspended Orlando's State Attorney. The presidential candidate accused Monique H. Worrell of incompetence, negligence and leniency to violent criminals in her district. It is the second time this year that DeSantis has taken such drastic action against a prosecutor. In both cases, he did it against judicial representatives of Democratic sympathy.

"What DeSantis did was to go over the top, because that's what it's all about. People voted for her. This is nothing more than him bullying and going against democracy. People in our state must understand this for what it is, and what the country could see," Fried tells LPO.

Nikki Fried, head of the Florida Democratic Party.

School reforms in Florida, including the history of slavery and sex education, are also up for debate. What do you think about it?

Right now education in the state of Florida is under attack. We have seen it in the last couple of years, how our school boards, our teachers, the curricula or study programs were attacked, not wanting to teach history, banning books. This has been getting worse. We are suffering the greatest loss of teachers in the country.

Unfortunately, in the last electoral cycles, the Democrats have not addressed the key issues for Hispanics and their very diverse communities.

You are leading a campaign to win over Democrats voters. How do you intend to seduce the thousands of Latinos in the state?

We have so many immigrants, especially Latinos in Florida. The Hispanic vote here is fundamental. It's what makes Florida what it is: Florida. It is what brings about the rich culture of the state, with the integration of those who come here looking for a better way of life, leaving behind socialist regimes, leaving behind their communist countries, leaving behind the dictators, to come to our state.

"Me encantaría ver a todos los latinos haciendo política en Miami"

How could the Democratic Party win back those votes that have leaned toward the Republicans lately?

Unfortunately, in recent election cycles, Democrats have failed to address key issues for Hispanics and diverse communities. The Hispanic community is very diverse. Having grown up here, in Miami, I notice the diversity with which the Cuban and Venezuelan communities are distinguished from each other, and the Argentine, Colombian, Puerto Rican too. So we must make sure that we listen to their specific needs, talking about what key issues are for them. And in that dialogue, we must ensure that Latinos understand that it is the Democratic Party that will always stand up to fight for their ideals.

The Hispanic vote here is fundamental. It is what makes Florida what it is: Florida. It is what brings about the rich culture of the state.

What impact will the recent tightening of immigration laws in Florida have, or has it already began to have?

It's going to destroy families. It is going to destroy our economy. We know that there is a significant proportion of immigrants working here in agriculture, construction and tourism. We are going to see an economic downturn caused by this anti-immigrant law driven by DeSantis.

Do you consider that the state had the power to legislate on immigration policy?

No, it is a law that should have never been passed, because it addresses a federal issue. And unfortunately, we are going to see families pulled out from Florida simply because they are afraid of being racially labeled. That is what's going to happen because of a law that at first shouldn't even have been discussed.

Translator: Bibiana Ruiz.

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