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Commissioner Of Agriculture Nikki Fried Accused Of Using Gas Pump Seal As Campaign Ad

MIRAMAR (CBSMiami) – Some Republicans argue Florida's new Commissioner of Agriculture is using a gas pump inspection seal as a campaign ad.

On Thursday afternoon, some people wanted to know why Nikki Fried's face is plastered on some 80,000 gas pumps across the state.

The Democrat and first woman to hold the position of Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, quickly shut down those accusations.

"The fact that you're asking this question, that we've had all this media attention, means it's working," said Fried.

The new seal, that's been redesigned and now a topic of discussion, signifies the pump has been inspected for skimmers. It's a major problem in south Florida that Fried says is only growing.

"Most people in the state of Florida didn't even know there was a sticker on the gas station pumps until this change happened," she continued.

The seal used to have the commissions logo. Some customers at a local gas station in Miramar said the change doesn't matter to them.

"If I thought somebody was fishing, I'd call my bank before I would call anywhere else. I wouldn't call Nikki," said one customer.

Some republicans argue the decals, which were sent out before a bill for the 2019-20 budget was passed, are unacceptable.

The bill explicitly says the sticker on the gas pump may only use a "combination of lettering, numbering, words, or the department logo."

But Fried's camp and supporters say she's done nothing wrong.

Customer Caroline Freckleton said, "It just seems like somebody who is advocating for the people, not necessarily campaigning."

Floridians have never seen anything like this before, but in North Carolina commissioner of labor Cheri Berry gained notoriety when she put her face on inspection certificates on elevators, admitting it helped boost her reputation.

But according to Fried, it's all about protecting the public with her voice, not with her face.

"Protecting the consumer has been my number one priority," Fried said.


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