The commissioner of agriculture oversees all of the industries and departments that deal with the state’s crops, food safety, fresh seafood and produce. That means enforcing state and federal standards on everything from milk and dairy to pesticides, fuel, and fertilizers.
Another part of the commissioner’s job is overseeing background checks for concealed weapons permits. It’s a responsibility that got extra attention after the Parkland shooting an an investigation by the Tampa Bay Times that revealed that, for more than a year, the department didn’t do national background checks on thousands of concealed weapons permit applicants.
And since this is a cabinet position, the agriculture commissioner sits on the same clemency board as the attorney general, CFO and governor. That board is the only option for felons to have their voting rights restored, at least right now – although that could change if Amendment 4 is approved on Nov. 6.
The race is between Democrat Nicole “Nikki” Fried and Republican state representative Matt Caldwell.
We’ve included information from the candidates’ websites and reporting from the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times.