Calling for ‘heart,’ lobbyist Nikki Fried announces possible run for Governor

Lawyer-lobbyist Nicole “Nikki” Fried, who specializes in medical marijuana issues, says she might run for Governor this year after coming to the conclusion the current field of Democratic candidates “need(s) a heart transplant.”

“Florida Democrats are tired of losing and are looking for a new voice: Someone different, someone who isn’t afraid to speak the truth and is willing to turn the political status quo on its head,” she said in a statement to Florida Politics Sunday.

“Someone has to fight for the millions of Floridians—especially our children—who can’t afford a lobbyist or a trip to Tallahassee,” she said. “We need to bring back a strong offensive playbook to a state party that has been stuck playing prevent defense for decades.

“The current field of candidates are just not cutting it—we need a heart transplant. Based on the overwhelming amount of support and encouragement I have received, I am seriously considering running and bringing my drive, my vision, and my unapologetic voice to the field.”

Fried founded the lobbying shop Igniting Florida in 2016 after leaving the Colodny Fass firm. Current clients are Florida’s Children First, San Felasco Nurseries, and the School Board of Broward County, according to registration reports.

In 2014, she received an award from The Florida Bar’s Legal Needs of Children Committee “for her leadership of the Florida’s Children First lobbying team,” according to her bio. Fried also has served on the Bar’s Standing Committee on the Legal Needs of Children.

The 40-year-old received her undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Florida, where she was student body president, and Hall of Fame and Blue Key member. Fried then got a master’s degree in political campaigning and law degree also from UF.

Howard Talenfeld, chair and president of Florida’s Children First, first met Fried when they worked together at Colodny Fass.

“She absolutely has the commitment, concern, the knowledge of and connection to our youth and to children who are at risk,” he said. “I will say none of the candidates ever contacted us to ask what children need. She certainly was the first.”

Kelly Sullivan, a Jacksonville attorney who’s known Fried for the better part of two decades, called her “energetic, organized.”

“She has perseverance. She would be an excellent governor; she’s motivated, well spoken, and can marshal the energy to make a difference.”


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Alexia Nechayev

FYS Events & Meeting Chair
(Palm Beach)

Hello, My name is Alexia Nechayev. I am 25 years old and I am an alumna of Florida International University where I received my B.A. in Psychology. My future career goal is to be a Lawyer. I was in care for about one year from age 17 to 18. Prior to entering care, I only knew about the negative stigma regarding foster care and while in care that narrative was unfortunately my experience.

In school I felt like I was on display because my status in care was broadcast to other students and in my placement behavior was leveraged for “privileges” that should be a natural right of all children. Because I did not know my rights I did not know that what I was experiencing was wrong. Today this is exactly why I advocate, because I don’t want this to be the same for other youth who are experiencing foster care.

This is my second year on the FYS Statewide Board and I’m happy to be the Events and Meetings Chair this year because my main goal through advocacy is to reach as many people as possible. My favorite thing as a board member is to see how comfortable members become while working together. The community needs to know that youth in foster care are real people, going through some of the hardest moments of their life and youth need to know that their voice is powerful. I believe that we have to speak up and bring these issues to people’s attention so that they do not forget us. Advocacy, education and consistency is the only way.

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