tv Campaign 2022 Florida Democratic Gubernatorial Primary Debate CSPAN July 25, 2022 12:49am-1:50am EDT
>> for this bilingual debate we are joined by our florida telemundo stations. >> it is a big honor to welcome to our stereos charlie crist congressional representative for district 13 and nicole nikki fried agricultural commissioner for the. >> charlie crist grew up in st. petersburg breaks currently resides. he was elected as a registered republican, he serves estate commissioner and florida attorney general before being elected governor from 2000 seven through 2011, since 2017 he has represented florida's 13th district in congress, he has emphasized his dedication to being the voice of the people.
born and raised in miami nikki fried graduated with a law degree in 2003. she has practiced various forms of law and also as a public defender. in 2017 she formed her own law firm advocating for at risk children and access to medical marijuana. she was elected in 2018 as a 12 agricultural commissioner. she describes herself as a pacifist activist. [speaking spanish] >> now we will present the candidates. >> the candidates and i have prior access to the questions and the questions are the same for both. they will each have 90 seconds to respond to each question, the candidate answering the question first have 30 seconds for
rebuttal. at the end of the debate each candidate will have two minutes or closing remarks. [speaking spanish] >> order to which each candidate will respond to the question and their final arguments has been determined by a poll done before the debate. host: commissioner i begin with the with a topic affecting all of us, that is the economy and inflation in the past year has hit floridians very hard in their wallets, gas prices, groceries, and more are affecting our everyday life, the year-to-year inflation rate is 9%, we have not seen in 40 years, what specific plans do you propose? nikki: first of all, thank you.
before i answer your question, i want to take an opportunity to introduce myself to the viewers, because unfortunately we will only have one debate. i was born here in miami, my mom a teacher and my dad a republican, do not worry we pray a lot for him. they taught me to always stand up for what i believe in, always stand up for justice, always making sure i follow my heart, follow my passion. that is why after this debate you will see that we only have one choice. the candidate that has been pro-life her entire life, the candidate who has never taken a single dollar from her nra, someone who has one statewide, charlie and i wanted make ron desantis a one term governor. i'm going to only one that can make that happen. we have been hearing the stories all across the state of order that people cannot afford the rent, mortgage, food. they are being kicked out of their homes, on a one i am declaring a housing emergency. that is exactly what it is.
it gives me the opportunity to allow our state attorneys, attorney general to go after predatory landlords. that is what it is, pure greed. i was the one who asked the governor to issue a state emergency on gas because we have to be doing everything possible to help the floridians here in the state of florida. host: congressman. charlie: i will think telemundo and nbc for sponsoring this debate is an opportunity for viewers across florida. my opponent says she has been pro-life her whole life. sometimes that happens and i know that's not the case and i know that you know it's not the case with me. to get to your question about affordability housing is the most critical issue we are facing in the economy. what we need to do is not what governor desantis has done, we need to make sure that we fully fund the sadowski fund at the state level, hundreds of millions of dollars that can be used for floridians to put a
roof over their head. it is not just for buying a home is for renting an apartment, this issue is so critical i have to share with you personally that i as a member of congress had an apartment in washington, it was cheaper than the one-bedroom apartment i had in saint pete is part florida, my home. we should be working with our federal friends, one of my former colleagues in the congress is now secretary of housing and urban development. i will work with the biden instead of governor desantis who beats on them every day. cooperation is important for your benefit. on the local housing, ken welch is my new mayor and saints petersburg, our first african-american mayor. he is already offered $70 million to help. the gas tax should've been cut months ago, i told governor desantis to do it months ago and he did not.
he is politically, ridiculously putting off the reduction until october rate for the election. you deserve better than that. >> thank you. i was talking about you being your entire life. i have been pro-choice my entire life and died know you brought up the affordable trust fund. you gutted it to the tune of $534 million you wonder why we have a housing problem today, it is not only you, rick and ron and jeff all did the same thing. we have a housing problem today because your failed leadership. charlie: may i respond? host: only one rebuttal. >> declaring bankruptcy, they have canceled coverages and canceled renewals of policies to millions of owners. there was a special session that
was created in tallahassee created by governor ron desantis and the problem was not solved there, what are you proposing in concrete to be able to faces crisis? charlie: thank you, let me tell you what nikki said she addressed of the fund, we saved 20,000 teachers their job and i'm proud of that, being governor's big job and it takes people who are ready to make big decisions i have done it now will do it again. let me talk about property insurance. when i was governor before, i call the special session. we reduced rates by 10%. desantis has done zero. he called a special session, he did not do anything, with his republican colleagues he made it more difficult for florida consumers to get what insurance companies it should be paying them. he's not on the side of the people. he is running for the president
of united states yearly cares for his future and more about the white house then your house and that is why we need a change. on november 8 i hope we get a democrat elected that serves as your governor. we need that because we need somebody that cares about your people. i always have and always will. host: commissioner. nikki: as i travel the entire state, i do not have to tell you this, you know you cannot afford your property insurance. you see insurance policies being dropped, all of our companies going out of business. unfortunately, the republican party has done nothing to help you. they have waited time and time again. what i would do, first and foremost you have to put together a committee that looks at all of the concrete issues that can be changed, making sure we are getting rid of frivolous lawsuits, taking care of fraud inside of our system because that happens every single day. increasing our premiums, then to
increase the power of the insurance consumer advocate. and to make sure we are protecting the people. at a time we saw an increase of cases because he made sure the insurance companies chose the -- the policies he put into place as governor is why we have an insurance problem here. there wasn't -- there was a recession at that time but instead of closing loopholes, he took away money that should have gone to affordable housing. instead, you made sure that people were suffering today because of decisions you made as governor. charlie: ma'am respond? -- may i respond. when i was governor we had a great recession, i do not know if anyone has dealt with that as governor of florida in modern
times, we did it and we saved 20,000 school teachers their jobs, we saved law enforcement jobs all of the state and make sure we had firefighters still on the watch because i had the courage to work at present obama to do what was right for the people of florida. host: the next question involves something you've already addressed, pro-life versus pro-choice. let's talk about abortion, with the u.s. supreme court decision abortion rights are now up to the states to decide, you both voiced opposition to the state new law banning abortions at 15 weeks, the previous law band at roughly 24 weeks, what limit to abortion access if any do support in a post row florida? -- post-florida. roenikki: thank you for the important question, this is the greatest difference between us. i have been pro-choice my entire life. i have made sure i've stood on
the side of women. charlie cannot stay the same thing. he has been pro-life's entire life including today, when he had the chance as governor, he appointed the most radical extremist into the supreme court. do you want to know why our right to privacy will be overturned in the state of florida? it is because of decisions charlie made when he was governor. i would never let that happen. i would make sure on day one we are declaring a state of emergency that would allow me to make sure money was not coming down for our state attorneys to prosecute doctors or women. we have to fight now. we have to make sure our rights are being protected. charlie, when you campaign for governor and you campaigned for most of your career, you are pushing for amendments in support of legislation that would have been an outright ban on abortions. that is unacceptable in a fight today. this is your legacy. when women die here in the state
of florida that is on you and you will have to live with that every single day. i will make sure we will continue to push for a constitutional amendment to expand that right to privacy. that we are going to lose, you and me because of charlie's decisions when he was governor. >> you know that is not true and you should not say these things because you're trying to muddy it up, you're losing this campaign and is time for desperation and it is on full display all over the state of florida. i'm sorry to see that. let me talk about what i believe. i have been pro-choice. every action i have taken as an elected official has been pro-choice. as a state center i killed an antiabortion bill in committee when i voted no, and it was a 3-3 tie vote. killing it in committee, never went to the floor of the senate. as your governor i vetoed an anti-abortion bill sent to me by the republican legislator. i have done it before, and i've -- and i will do it again.
as a member of congress, i have a 100% rating from planned parenthood. that is why people like alex sink have endorsed my campaign. the former president of planned parenthood in florida has endorsed my campaign. they are not wrong, they are right, you are wrong. i am right for women, i write for pro-choice, i've always done it, i always will. host: would you have any limits to abortion access? charlie: the question is not limits, it is why republicans like ron desantis not honored respect a woman's right to choose? that is the issue we are dealing with. let's understand what is at stake. the right to choose that steak i -- is at stake and i will fight for it. nikki: i will not let you rewrite history. that is not accurate. i need people to understand, he did veto a piece of legislation after he left the republican party, not because he saw the light, because he saw the polls.
he veto that legislation to take away votes from what would have been our first black senator in the state of florida. we as women cannot have the chance to have a brett kavanaugh in the governor's office. charlie: ma'am respond to that briefly? host: there was one rebuttal, we cannot. >> your time. governor ron desantis signed into law the right to parent education prohibiting discussion of the identity and sexual orientation in the classrooms up to third grade. they call this law, do not say gay. how would you protect the groups lgtb, that they feel vulnerable and in danger? charlie: this is another example
of governor ron desantis picking a group suit tear us apart and further his way to president in 2024. i would repeal it; it is punishing on lgbtq kids and gives them chastised in school. i was told by a guidance counselor that the incidence of suicide watch students has gone through the roof as a result of this legislation. it is awful and it cannot stand. we have to have a governor that will try to bring us a -- bring us together again. we need a governor who wants to care about the people of our state not about iowa or new , hampshire that will be voting for the republican nominee for president. that is what you deserve and that is what we should be focused on. that is why i am running for governor of florida come to fight for you, women, students, teachers, our environment. >> commissioner?
nikki: i tell the story very often. when i was in high school my stepbrother came out to me. he did not know who else to turn to. luckily, i was there. i cannot imagine the children of today being in an environment where they do not feel accepted, loved, with no one to turn to. this piece of legislation is for one purpose only. to divide our state. to create hate. the end result is that i talked to students, parents, teachers everywhere. right now, our teachers, some of them that may be in same-sex marriages cannot even bring a picture of their spouse to the classroom. what happened to that little boy who cannot draw a picture of his two moms? that is a result of this asinine piece of legislation that needs to be reversed. we also need somebody who we can trust to get it done. charlie, for most of his career campaigned on traditional
marriage. that he went and make sure we did not have -- that we have a a constitutional amendment that did not protect same-sex marriage or adoption. that is what we are dealing with today. somebody things are on the line. -- so many things are on the line. we need to make sure you have a true democrat, not just someone who can beat ron desantis. i've been doing that for four and half years. i will get that as we get to the primary and go head to head with ron desantis. >> can you respond? charlie: you want a democrat you can trust, and you deserve one. you can trust charlie crist. i was in the republican party and the tea party rosen inn has the tea party rose and has only metastasized since. i have common sense, i have values. trust, honor, decency, kindness. nikki talks about the fact that she doesn't think i've been such
a great democrat. it was only four years ago you decide to support ashley moody the republican nominee for the republican -- gave her money to help defeat sean shaw and now he's trying to make sure women don't get a choice by going to the supreme court. you want somebody you can trust, it's me. host: the next question, we've been witnessing the sentencing phase of the particle and shooter. gun reform laws have proven to be difficult to get through the legislature in the wake of the particle in school shooting. we are talking about the red flag laws and raising the age to 20 12 purchase most firearms that went into place. what else if anything do you think needs to be passed and can be passed in the state of florida? >> when i ran in 2018, a made a promise to you. i made a promise when i was
elected commissioner of agriculture, not only what i kicked the nra out of my office, but that's exactly what i did, i came in on day one and made sure everyone had thorough and complete background checks. make sure i looked at loopholes in my administration. then i stood side-by-side with administrators and legislators, pushing for universal background checks on ammunition and making sure we made illegal guns sold at gun shows, making sure the loophole was closed and making sure we got rid of the ghost guns in our state. there's so much more we can do. mine reminds me every single day who i fight for and why i fight. i would support making sure not only are we passing no ghost guns, making sure we create new safety measures and mechanisms and without a doubt, we must get those assault weapons off our
streets. every single one of these mass shootings we have seen is because of those assault weapons. i am somebody who has been in that trench. i've been fighting on these issues. i'm not somebody who takes money from the nra. has gotten an a rating for most of his career. i kicked to the nra out of i office and that is what i will continue to do as governor. >> i think it is interesting nikki talks about banning assault weapons she had to be dragged kicking and screaming to sign a ban on assault weapons a little over a week ago and says she has been there the whole time. but i have done is called on the banning of assault weapons for a long time. in addition, make sure we have background checks that check background. it is good we have red flag laws in florida but we need them nation wide. that's why i'm sponsoring a bill in congress to do that today. if you have an incident that
happens in savannah georgia because they don't have a red flag law and come into jacksonville, we need uniformity. at the nra, i have an f from the nra and i am proud of it. as a member of the united states congress, representing tampa bay, and eight this trick that has not been held by a democrat since 1955, you want somebody who can win in november, it's charlie crist. common sense on guns, doing what's right for women, protecting your right to choose. thank you very much. host: commissioner, your response? >> it took you 30 years to get here. i decided to not put my fingerprints on guns in general but when my friend called and said this is important to me, i signed it. not because it took me 40 years to get to this position but i don't believe in signing pledges. when he called and said this is important, i made sure it was done. i've always been here, that can never be disputed.
>> congressman, the process had just started for sentencing the person who committed the massacre at park lind that left 17 people dead has just begun. are you in favor of perfectible sentence or the death sentence? >> this is a horrible crime that occurred in parkland. those lives that have been lost, it is unconscionable that it would occur. what we need to do and only i have done on this stage is signed death sentences. hardest thing to do as governor in my opinion. if ever there was a case where it was warranted it is this case. it is such a heinous crime, so cruel, so inhumane, it's absolutely unconscionable, and you have to have consequences when you have a serious crime like this. this is a time, this is a moment for that, he should get the
death penalty for sure. nikki: i've spent a lot of time with the parkland parents, with the families, with the kids. i was from broward at the time, and i saw their grief. this is not an easy decision for a judge or jury to make. as a past public defender, i was at the public defender's office for 3.5 years, i saw how many times we got things wrong and how many times we had to go back and make corrections through trials. the death penalty is one of the circumstances where there has to be no disputable evidence that somebody has either confessed, or there is no disputable evidence. i actually talked to my friend, and i asked him what do you want, what do you want to see happen here? originally, he told me he wanted to see the guy rot in jail for
the rest of his life. but, he changed. listen to what parents want and the people who are grieving today, what they are growing through. -- what they are going through. at the end of it he said he want the guy gone. for my friend fred and all the other parkland families out there, i stand united with you and united and hope that the judge and jury do the right thing and put this guy to death. >> mr. congressman, do you have anything to explain about it or anything to add to the question? >> i really do not, we feel the same way on this issue and i respect that. >> i will welcome at this time our colleague. she is a host from the orlando station representing central florida. go ahead, thank you very much. >> my first question will be
directed to you miss commissioner. we talked briefly at the beginning of this debate, but i would like to talk more about it. there are less properties available to be rented and the salaries are low for the rent. this is a problem getting worse every time in the state. specifically, in central florida. how do you think you will be able to alleviate this crisis? >> thank you for that question, you are absolutely correct. all over the state of florida went increasing 20, 30, 40, 50, 60% in some cases. i had the opportunity to talk to a woman named ms. johnson in tallahassee, a single mom with three children. the story that she told me was that she was seeing rent increasing by almost 100%, and given no notice. i asked what she was going to do. she said she had no choice but to leave. i am hearing those stories all over our state from the hard-working floridians, some
have to work two jobs to make ends meet. people will have to leave our state. republicans, for decades, have been bringing more and more people into our state with no plan of action. that is why on day one i will be declaring a housing emergency. if you cannot put a roof over your head, if you cannot make sure that your families are taken care of, then we are seeing democracy, that american dream slip through our fingers. we also need to make sure we are looking at other ways to work with our local governments to create local plans to build more affordable homes. the affordable trust bond has been gutted to the tune of 2.4 billion dollars. can you imagine how many more homes could be built during that time? that is a promise to make sure that more money goes back into the affordable trust fund to expand the amount of homes that are being built in the state of florida. >> thank you very much. congressman?
>> thank you very much and thank you for being here in representing central florida. this is where the most important issues facing our state. the current governor desantis does not care. he wants to tear florida apart, attacking lgbtq, black floridians, taking away minority districts. the one from al lawson in north florida it is unconscionable. , we need a governor laser focused on doing what is right for the people. making sure that we have housing funds available so that floridians can keep a roof over their head. one way to do that is to make sure that the property insurance rates come down. when i was governor my first term, i held a special session shortly after i was sworn in to try to bring down property insurance rates which are skyrocketing right now under this governor because he is in the pocket of the insurance companies. i never was, i was ag before that, and i fought them. then i fought utility companies the same way and for your
benefit. what i did that special session, we lowered property insurance by 10%, i will do it again. >> commissioner, did you like to speak? >> i love how charlie likes to rewrite history. during a time, we were going through a recession we saw insurance going through a roof. what he did was he manipulated the market. put more and more of those policies and citizens which would have created a catastrophic event if we had been hit by hurricanes at that time. he chose the trial lawyers of -- over the insurance companies. he made a choice, and the choice wasn't you today, we are dealing with issues because of policies he put in place when he was governor. >> thank you, commissioner. my next question will be directed to you, congressman. governor desantis took some measurement after the company
expressed a position to the law known as do not say gay law. most of them thought it would impact several counties, what is the solution proposed for that situation? >> the solution is you get rid of the law, you repeal don't say gay. disney world voted to express their opinion as they are guaranteed in the right to free speech. governor desantis wants to punish them. it is already having an impact in central florida, walt disney world was because send 2000 jobs from california to florida. they pause that because the governor's more concerned about the white house than your house. it is amazing, let's talk about nikki saying i am rewriting history. i am not, i am telling facts. facts are stubborn things, and she knows it.
this is a real problem, nikki. we are in a democratic primary. both of us want to unseat governor desantis. if we are going to be able to do that, we have to work together and stop tearing down fellow democrats and do what is right to win the election in november. i will pledge to you if you win the primary, i will endorse you that night. i hope you do the same for me now. >> commissioner, your response to the question? >> for the last three and half years i've been standing up , against ron desantis. i was the first one in 2020 after an atrocious legislative session to call him a dictator. because that's what he is. he is gone after people's rights to vote, right to protest, going after our local governments, and school boards. now he goes after our business communities. look what he did in florida, going after the cruise line industry, because they dared to take care of you the passengers. when disney exercised their freedom of speech he went after them. who is next?
you? that is why i stand up against this bully every single day. i've been doing it for three and half years. that is what it means to have a fighter in this election and a fighter in this ring. yes, charlie and i might agree on some policies. at the end of the day, it matters who we for in this primary on who can beat ron desantis. if we vote for charlie, we will see ron desantis run for president because he will get another term. if you vote for me in this primary you will have a fighter and we will end ron desantis is career. -- ron desantis's career. we will take care of the people that work here. i would absolutely reverse this decision on disney, making sure we truly create an economic environment where people can prosper. >> congressman, your reply? charlie: we are talking about
winning the election and winning in november. i am pulling -- polling ahead of nikki by 17 points in november. >> the only poll that matters is at election day. >> excuse me, i have not a roof -- interrupted you. >> do not interrupt. >> i am very confident in our opportunity to win this election, confident in the primary, not complacent in the same way about taking on ron desantis i am pulling ahead of -- pulling ahead of him today -- polling ahead of him today. host: we are gamine -- we are going to move to the environment. i think we can all agree that florida is ground zero to the effects of climate change. in south florida we often see street letting on any given day -- street flooding on any given day, on any given dry day for that matter. funding for state restoration efforts for the everglades has increased in recent years.
what can you put in place? to protect our environment as we look toward the future, commissioner? >> we all know florida is ground zero for all the issues happening in our climate. we know that right now our streets are flooding. growing up in miami, i experienced and went through hurricane andrew. we all thought that would be a once-in-a-lifetime storm. every single year we are seeing more and more these types of storms threatening the coast of florida in the united states. as our commissioner of agriculture we have spent the last three and half years fighting for our environment making sure we are talking about , issues that were going to matter. clean water. we made sure and we came in and did a better balance on the environment and agriculture. making sure we are pushing forth legislation and initiatives to create sustainable environment. as you are governor, i will be able to take it one step further, that is why the democratic environmental caucus endorsed me. as commissioner, we put together a 72-page plan, never done before in the state of florida,
outlining what we will do. when president biden was elected, we sent a 30 page plan with 40 different ideas on how to work together to create a more sustainable environment , including more solar here in the state of florida making sure that the info structure that is -- infrastructure that is coming down here to our state is actually being used to fund activities and different types of programs that are going to be beneficial to the environment of our state. people come here for our beaches, and our clean water, we have to do everything possible to make sure it is sustainable for the next generation. >> congressman, what would you do in terms of funding environment initiatives in the state? >> few issues are as important to florida as our environment, i have said this all the time that our environment and economy already inextricably linked. why? florida is beautiful, we are tourist driven state, it is an engine that serves our economy and people who work in restaurants, hotels, disney
world, and cruise lines. i know it is fundamentally important to each and every one of you. we want a good economy, and we want to sustain it. we have to sustain florida to keep it going. that means we have to address climate change, and the only -- i am the only governor in history to hold a climate change summit in south florida with governor arnold schwarzenegger and others, is fundamentally important we have to look forward. if we want to save florida and the climate, we have to do that right now. we are the state most susceptible to rising sea levels. i tried when i was governor the first time to buy as much sugar land as i could tourist with a natural flow south of the water through the everglades through lake okeechobee into the florida bay. that is what we have to do and that's what i will reignite when i get back to being governor the only reason we could not
finish it was because of the great recession so the funds cut back. i used it to save teachers jobs, it is having common sense in doing the right thing. nikki: the environment we know is the most important thing, unfortunately, when charlie was auditioning to be the vice president under john mccain, he stood behind john mccain, and he was talking about oil drilling , charlie was there clapping and agreeing. the policies that charlie gets behind are only for one purpose, to enhance his political career. not for the people of our state and certainly not for our environment. >> let's continue, mr. congressman. you are a congressman, and you are a commissioner of agriculture of our state. both of them are risking important positions within the democratic party trying to get the governor. if any of you lose in front of
ron desantis will be the cost of failure within your own party? charlie: the cost is not running against him, the failure would be not challenging ron desantis. he is a disaster. he is the worst governor in modern florida history. attacking lgbtq, not caring about affordability for house, gas, groceries, utility bills. not caring about people in their daily lives or students in the classrooms. banning books from our classrooms and not supporting teachers. we are the third largest states in the country and our teachers are paid 48 out of 50 states in the country. it is appalling. he gives up everything floridians care about in order to pursue the white house. he is thinking about all day every day and that is why he is going after these red meat unbelievable issues to punish gay people in florida. to punish african american
-- the fact that you might lose the election? >> i know what floridians want, i know they are hurting, its governor does not feel about it he does not understand it. all he does is hang around with millionaires and billionaires and collects checks to run for president and i state in 2024, i -- to run for president of the united states in 2024. i have been your governor i have fought for you, given the opportunity to do it again i will never never let you down. >> commissioner. nikki: i have an opportunity to have a front row seat to see the policies ron desantis has been implanting in our state. i have been sitting next to mechanic meetings when he has them, every time i have gone to speak at a microphone when ron and i are in the same room, he gets a twitch because he is nervous. i throw him off, what i also watched and seen, i could not sit back and watch anymore. growing up in miami my parents did teach me that you have an obligation to stand up, to up against bullies, stand up for justice and i am watching this guy take away our freedoms. take away our democracy. i had no choice but to stand up and make sure that he was a one term governor. as somebody who has been in those trenches and writing, look -- trenches and fighting, look at what his policies are. he is going after our lgbtq plus community. he is going after our black congressional districts. he is going after rights to protest. rights to vote.
that is not democracy, it is fascism. unfortunately, so many of these policy initiatives that he is fighting on today were charlie's when he was a republican. that is unacceptable. that is why we have to win. i understand the gravity of the situation. >> congressman? charlie: he is anti-democracy. there is no question about it. this governor does not want our fellow floridians to vote. i have a 90-year-old father and an 87-year-old mother, he is making it harder for seniors to vote by mail. i like to vote by mail. it is convenient. he is an autocrat running to become a dictator. and it is not right for florida. >> i would like to piggyback from what she said and the potential loss of the party of -- if either of you lose. president biden's polling
numbers are down 20% since taking office. former president trump carried the state in part of the hispanic voters supporting the republican ticket. with these factors in place, how do you plan on carrying the democrats over the top of the first time in nearly 30 years? commissioner. nikki: in 2018 when i ran for the commissioner of agriculture, no one thought it was possible. everybody kept saying what is a good jewish girl from miami running for the department of agriculture, a seat that has never elected a female for that position nor a democrat for 20 years. we proved them wrong, we talk to everybody we made sure our first tv commercials were in league county, we make sure we flipped seminole, we flipped devol. we made sure to go to the panhandle to rivard and polk and everywhere in our state.
that is what will take in order for us to win, to make sure we have a candidate that understands the complete demographics of our state. i am the commissioner of agriculture. i have spent the last three years going to our rural communities, talking to them, finding the issues that unite us instead of dividing us. at the end of the day, we know that ron desantis has flown too close to the sun. that he is prone to making mistakes and i am prone to capitalize on them. i have won our state as a democrat, the only one in this race who can claim that. i will win again in 2022 by being myself, by talking about the issues that are important to you, not the issues are just important to us. that is how we win, by creating an umbrella for everyone to come underneath and protecting the interest of our state. >> congressman, it has been nearly three decades, the response to that? charlie: we have to do what is right for our state. what that means in the hispanic community is reaching out and
listening. my dad used to tell me, god gave you two ears and one mouth. respect his ratio. make sure you listen to people, what they are saying. you are running for the governor of state of florida, there are 22 millions of us, visit with venezuelans, nicaraguans, cuban-americans, this is so important because we are the most diverse state in the country. that is a great part of our beauty. i am the grandson of an immigrant. who came to this country at the age of 14 in 1912 from the island of cyprus. my father's mother, my grandmother she emigrated from lebanon about the same year in 1912. i understand the immigrant story. i understand the yearn for freedom, commerce. and opportunity. it is why people have been coming to america forever. i understand that and protect that story and make sure it goes
forward. >> commissioner? nikki: growing up in miami my back neighbors were cuban. we spent almost every other weekend together. we are hearing the stories of why her and her family left the communist regime to come here for the democracy. when we kicked off the campaign, we toured all over the state talking to our latin american community, our haitian community. that is what it was going to take, understanding our stories, understanding why people came here, i hear you. i hear you, and i will protect you. >> congressman, you are both emphasized throughout the debate ,as well, ron desantis as governor, more than his
reelection what he is interested in is to become a presidential candidate. doesn't that make him, between the two of you, more weak to the electorate there looking for a more solid candidate to bring about electoral rules? charlie: i could not have said it better than myself. i think it makes him a very weak candidate, he is taking his eye off of you our fellow floridians. he doesn't care about you as much as he cares about his own political future. he is proving it every single day. he does not work for common good. he does not work across the aisle. he is only going after the hard right, the very hard right republican vote so he can do well in the polling for the nomination for president. it is serving him well politically. it is not serving you at all as floridians. it is supposed to be public service, and you are supposed to serve it with a servant's heart. ron desantis, make no mistake
about it is a politician who only cares about his own future. you, my fellow floridians, deserve better. you deserve somebody that loves florida, cares about you, cares about our environment, cares about our children, though make -- who will make sure that the future of florida will be very bright. you need and deserve a governor though bring sunshine back to the sunshine state, under this governor it has been pretty dark for a while. >> commissioner. nikki: i read a story back in 2019, and i did an entire expose on ron desantis. it talked about his first baseball game at yale where he got a single, as he was standing on the days, he tried to steal -- standing on base, he tried to heal second. he kept his eye off of where he needed to go because he got picked up at second. that is why he is trying to do again here. he has taken his eye off of his home base. he has taken his eye off of you the people in order to have the chance for running for president of the united states. make no mistake about it. if he was to win this reelection, that is what he will
do. he will leave us behind. at a time when we see the greatest amount of suffering in our state, he will have left a wake of damage everywhere he goes. he is not here focusing on a state. during the pandemic he went mia. i had to stand up and take over leadership of our state because he did not want to talk to you. he did not want to follow the science and data. he was already looking at his national aspirations. he was more concerned about getting on fox news then making sure we were protecting the people of our state. we made sure that we lead with science and convictions and give -- gave you all the information that you needed to protect your family. that is what i will do as your next governor. >> congressman, you have the opportunity of 30 seconds. charlie: thank you very much. listen. we have to have a governor that cares about florida again, that understands what a special place
this is. florida is not a steppingstone. we are a special place, the most beautiful place in the world to live. i was born in pennsylvania, when i was three years old my family moved to st. petersburg on the west coast. i am a public school kid who graduated from saint petersburg high school and from florida state university. i love this state. >> this debate is bilingual and airing in both languages. let's talk about immigration. governor desantis clearly stated that florida will not be a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants and has taken measures to protect our state from what he calls the crisis at the border. would you change the policy if you were elected governor? nikki: as commissioner of agriculture, we know that 2 million of our floridians work for agriculture. one million of those are undocumented. the last 3.5 years i have made sure we have protected those working in immigration and those that are working in agriculture.
when ron made sure that testing and vaccines did not get to those populations, i had to go around him to stand up for the people that live and the people that work here. they are essential to our economy. i have had to testify in front of congress, and on numerous panels all across our state saying that we need comprehensive immigration reform. when this legislator pushed, not once, but twice to create sanctuary cities, i stood up and said these are individuals were -- that are working here in our state. the governor had the audacity to sign a legislation, to push legislation that took away some of our religious institutions who had become safe harbors for our children. these were our kids that he went after. i will vow to do whatever i can to make sure that the people that are living here in our state feel safe, secure. i also had the opportunity to
speak to a lot of individuals who had heard the stories, every time they leave their house there is fear of never coming home. no one should have to ever live in that fear. >> congressman, would you change the policy? charlie: what i think we need to have comprehensive immigration reform. i am the grandson of a greek immigrant and a lebanese grandmother, i understand the immigrant story in the dream -- and i understand the dream they have. they want a safer life any more -- and a more secure life for them, their children, and the grandchildren. that is why it is so important we get this right. our borders need to be secure, but we also need to be compassionate. otherwise, my grandmother and grandfather would not have been able to come to the united states. my grandfather, when he got here, he joined the army for world war i. he fought in europe, in belgium. he was honorably discharged and
granted a u.s. citizenship. could not have been happier about anything more in his life. that was because, he was one of the first dreamers, if you will. that is what america stands for. america stands for the beacon of life and hope around the world. doing as we can to make sure as a strongest country around the planet we are fighting for right and fighting for good. >> would florida become a sanctuary state if you are governor? charlie: it would be a place where people continue to come in -- continue to come and work in agriculture. i think we need to have comprehensive immigration reform. i do not want illegal immigration, i want legal immigration that is compassionate and caring. >> commissioner. nikki: let's go back to why ron desantis sent our troops to the border last year. it had nothing to do with securing our border. it had everything to do with a political stunt. and do you know who it costs?
you and me, taxpayer dollars. over $1 million was spent over that political shot that ron desantis had. that is what he is doing. he is playing politics with our money, our lives, and that has to stop. >> thanks to both of you, the debate has finalized. each of you will have two minutes for your final arguments. >> commissioner, we begin with you. >> thank you so much for moderating today and thank you for telemundo and nbc six. i was growing up here in miami, my mom was a teacher, my dad, a republican. that is why being up here debating a republican is nothing new to me. the thing they taught me my jewish faith was to heal the world. it is why i chose to be a public defender to defend the innocent. is why i took on big banks to
help homeowners. it is why i fought for foster care kids. it is why i was so hard on charlie today. because appointing and defending judges who stripped away two black congressional seat, defending the nra is the exact opposite of healing the world. look, we both want to defeat ron desantis, but i have been doing it for four years as the only statewide elected democrat. so, you have a choice. you can try something new, for that single mom who cannot afford her rent. something new for the black entrepreneur competing in a rigged system. something new for every little
girl who has fled tyranny. we have to try something new. i am nikki fried. i am the only statewide elected democrat. the only one to have won our state since barack obama in 2012. i know how to defeat ron desantis. thank you for your time, your vote, i appreciate you. charlie: thank you very much. sadly, you have just heard the voice of desperation. unfortunately, she is losing this campaign. that is unfortunate. you want somebody who can win and win in november. i will be laser focused on affordability, making sure we get housing down, we get affordability back and we do it we can do to get gas prices down and not put off as a political stunt. as governor desantis has done. you deserve a governor who about you and your education. supports public school teachers.
even though we are the third largest state in the country, we are 48 or 49th in what we pay our teachers. we need to make sure all of these are fought for. i will start with roe v. wade, this is one of the greatest threats to the modern society in over 50 years. it comes down to disrespect for women. desantis does not respect women, he does not want them to have the right to choose for their health. that is absurd. i will fight for it tooth and nail every single day. i will look forward to the opportunity to fight for you and make florida a better place to live. as i said, to bring sunshine back to the sunshine state. this is a wonderful place to grow up. i did it since 1960 in tampa bay. i look forward to the campaign ahead, ask for your vote humbly, i hope you will stand with me. god bless you all and god bless our beautiful florida.
>> thank you so much for joining us here tonight, on decision 2022. this concludes the democratic primary gubernatorial debate. we bring it to a close would like to thank you and our viewers. >> this is a result of the efforts of the electoral year. that way, the candidates will participate in november 8. >> we thank them both for your participation in this debate. >> thank you. >> goodnight. >> congratulations. good job. >> thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] ♪