Commissioner Nikki Fried makes new appointment to Florida Commission on the Status of Women
Okay, good morning everyone and thank you for joining today’s press conference for reporters on the line. Please ensure your camera and microphone are turned off. We’ll take questions after today’s discussion and if you have *** question, you can type it into the chat box at that time. With that, I’ll go ahead and turn it over to commissioner, freed to get started. Good morning everyone and thank you for joining me today for this very exciting occasion. For third one years, the florida Commission on the status of women has been raising awareness of and of issues statewide recommendations on issues at impacting girls and women. Now, more than ever, it’s essential to elevate the voices of women in our state to protect our rights and address the inequities still present today. We all know that women continue to suffer disproportionate outcomes compared to men and areas as pay equity, domestic gun violence and educational opportunities. An often overlooked issue yet one with an outsized impact on women is food and security. Nearly three million Floridians, including more than 850,000 of our Children suffer from chronic hunger. Research shows women are disproportionately affected by hunger as single women households are more likely to experience food insecurity than single men or married couples. Since becoming Commission of Agriculture, I have made food insecurity *** priority through the creation of the Food Security Advisory Council, administration of Federal nutrition programs and continued advocacy of nutrition funding during the pandemic. In 2020 I established *** 16 member Food Security Advisory Council compared comprise of food banks, nonprofits, food industry groups and academia to create the first ever set of policy recommendations for the local state and federal levels to help solve the hunger crisis. I’ve also been working with USDA to support the upcoming White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health and I’m hopeful we will reach the goal of eradicating hunger by 2030 hunger and the inequalities women face are not going away without *** fight and we will always need strong advocates working to help us reach our policy goals. When she was in the florida legislature, I worked closely with Representative jennifer Webb On *** bill she sponsored to address issues of childhood hunger in our schools. Together, we created and fought for an exciting plan to bring universal breakfast to Florida’s schools and now as *** partner at *** global strategy firm, she’s working to help her clients expand access to healthy foods for Children since the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. And in the summer months I’m honored to be joined by *** great female leader here today as we proudly announced the appointment of the honorable jennifer webb to the florida commission on the status of women. Congratulations! Representative web before coming to florida jennifer webb served as an AmeriCorps volunteer in western massachusetts. After her graduation for Louisiana State University. I’m not gonna hold that against you today, jen um She was recruited by the University of South florida to pursue an advanced degree in the public anthropology and assist in launching the university’s office of community engagement and partnerships there. She expanded USF’s engagement into nutrition by linking food and nutrition providers with community gardeners and university researchers. In 2018, jennifer Webb ran and won her race to become the state representative for district 69 becoming the first L G B T. Q woman to serve in the florida legislature as the ranking Democratic member of the pre K 12 pre K through 12 equality subcommittee. She sponsored bills provide incarcerated women with health care products, increased resources for mental health and combat addiction to the creation of the office of Drug and alcohol control. She was voted one of the most effective freshman legislators. It was given multiple legislative leader recognitions and awarded the National Alliance of Mental Health legislator of the year mental health mental illness legislator of the year award for her mental health advocacy work in Pinellas County. I also know that dealing with mental health is something that jen has been *** champion on, continues to advocate for and also personally has seen the connection between access to food and nutrition and mental health and has been *** true champion when it comes to mental health awareness and fighting for dollars and resources. In addition to working in my office to sponsor H. B. 5 to 1 to reduce food insecurity in our schools. Representative Web served as *** keynote speaker for *** number of statewide and national hunger conventions as the official whose office oversees the administration of our school lunch program. I believe that Representative Webb’s work, both in the legislature and in her community has made her *** true ally in our mission to end child hunger in our state today. Representative Web is doing what she does best connecting people in her community to improve the outcomes for everybody. She is *** partner and co founder of nominee Omni Public, *** progressive public affairs firm that specializes in launching multi sector, regional and statewide initiatives with other clients. She has worked to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths and promote resiliency and civility in our democratic institutions and elections. We are all fortunate to have you jennifer Webb as *** dedicated advocate and visionary leader on our florida. Commission on the status of women. I like to invite Representative Web to say *** few words well, thank you so much. Commissioner freed. And I also want to mention that when I was in the legislature, that was when Covid hit and with that. And I can remember after *** meeting at our county emergency Management um, call that was weekly to coordinate everything from covid testing to feeding programs. I called you um, when we were dangerously close to running out of food in our county for those most vulnerable and between you and uh, and Jared Moskowitz, ever ever in fema, y’all sprung into action and we’re such amazing partners to help and make sure that all of our residents in Pinellas County had the food that they needed. And, and that’s and that’s the kind of leadership that I have actually come to expect from you in your office. And I am just very honored to be *** planted uh, to this important commission. I’ve long admired the work of florida’s commission on the status of women. And I look forward to joining other outstanding women as we lead florida’s efforts to celebrate the contribution of women in florida, but also to highlight the challenges that women and Children face throughout florida so that we can come up with common sense recommendations to our highest public officials that will help all Floridians thrive, I look forward to bringing my professional experience and broad networks in both food security and access to nutritious food along with behavioral health and recovery to the commission. Um, as the commissioner said, I work and reducing the number of opioid overdose deaths. Um, and that’s *** very visible epidemic right now and one that the commissioner herself has really taken *** lead in and um, making sure that our rural communities and our farmers have access to treatment and recovery and behavioral health resources that they need so that they can be healthy and strong. But as as much as our focus has been on that epidemic, that the food insecurity and um, and hunger has been this silent undertone throughout our community impacting our families day in and day out, year in and year out, decade in in decade out. And I I look forward to building upon Commissioner Fried’s legacy in both of those areas. Many people may not realize that the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer consumer services not only ever sees farming and of course consumer services, but also she administers federal nutrition programs like the school lunch program. Commissioner freed though, has taken this administrative duty one step further. She created the Food Security advisory council and and we advocated together for expanding school breakfast so all of our Children, regardless of circumstances, could come to class ready to learn. And currently, as she mentioned, she’s working with USDA to support the upcoming White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health. I’m so grateful for her continued leadership and for having had the opportunity to work alongside her to expand access to healthy food for women and Children alike. You see, I come from 1/5 generation farming family. My uncle was actually the commissioner of agriculture and forestry for 30 years in Louisiana and you don’t grow up in my family and not feel responsible for and passionate about connecting all Children and all families to nutritious food. You also don’t become *** legislator and *** passionate advocate of alleviating hunger and food insecurity without deeply understanding the face of those who are food insecure has expanded to heartbreakingly include even more families. Food insecurity today touches most segments of our population, regardless of whether you live in the country and the urban core or in the suburbs, rising prices of food and other basic living in expenses. Have families choosing between keeping the lights on are stocking up the cupboards. Yet, as commissioner noted, research shows that single women are disproportionately affected by hunger, they are much more likely to experience food insecurity than single men are married couples and their 35% likely to experience poverty. And this is despite the fact that most women that women Make up half of the workforce, they actually represent 60% of the nation’s lowest paid workers. So the responsibilities of child care and family paired with *** lack of people pay leads to women sacrificing their own food security to provide for others with devastating consequences for for women and Children. And so as I step forward to assume the position of Commissioner on the status of women with these other amazing leaders, I look forward to bringing together the community and leaders like our commissioners on the status of women to work together to draw attention to the silent suffering of so many throughout florida so that we can keep fighting the fight against hunger and food insecurity. Thank you so much Commissioner um for appointing me to this position and for your continued leadership on this very important issue. Well, no, thank you Representative Web. You truly are an inspiration to, to all, not just women, but to people that you touch. Um I’d watch you in action when you were *** legislator. I watched your tenacity, your fight, your grit, your willingness to fight until the last moment and get bills up and to get amendments on on bills and to fight. Um and it is definitely up until the class is not an easy feat sometimes for *** democrat. Um I get that. But you always showed such grace and such passion for every single piece of legislation that you touched on the issues that you were working on an and your your community um was in such great hands when you were the representative and so thank you for your leadership and thank you for your service. We also have two other guests that I have the honor here to to make sure that they also honor your achievements. First I would like to invite Caitlyn Peacock, executive director of the Tampa Bay Network of end hunger and valued member of the FDX Food Security advisory council to say *** few words Caitlin thank you commissioner freed for the introduction and for your continued leadership on such important community issues. Representative Web not only works professionally fighting for social justice, but it’s also personal. At the beginning of Covid I witnessed jennifer drop everything. Hop in her 20 year old Subaru Outback ***. K. ***. The garden car And helped us deliver over one million meals over 30,000 Children and families that were isolated in their homes with no other access to food to feed their families. I have known jennifer for almost *** decade and I can attest to the fact that she is *** person who is genuinely dedicated to improving the lives of those who are struggling through real systems change throughout her career in academia public office, private sector, jennifer has had this mission at the forefront. The florida commission on the status of women’s focus on issues relating to women and Children is so important, especially now to ensure the health and well being of our communities with rent, prices, soaring and current inflation more are at risk today than ever before and the face of hunger and those struggling is changing. So action and oriented leaders are needed now more than ever. And with jennifer you get just that right now we need leadership that matters. And with jennifer serving in this role, I know our women and Children will be *** priority. With that being said, I just want to thank the commissioner freed for appointing *** truly action oriented leader that will invoke lasting change And with that, I just wanted to say thank you and congratulations, thank you Caitlin for your continued efforts to increase food security in the bay area and throughout our state. We’re also joined today by jennifer, healey Ceo of the ST Petersburg free clinic to speak about today’s appointment, Thank you so much Commissioner free for giving me the opportunity to celebrate my friend Jennifer Webb and say *** few words about her commitment locally in Pinellas County. In ST Petersburg in Pinellas County. Our neighbors, nearly half of whom were already having trouble making ends meet before the pandemic have been hit hard by the soaring cost of housing inflation, impacting everyday expenses like groceries, escalating barriers to affordable healthcare and policy decisions, rolling back rights and creating *** climate of fear among those who already experienced marginalization. Representative Jennifer Webb has worked tirelessly to improve economic conditions for our neighbors and knows just how much of the local level. ST Pete Free Clinic has had to step up our services. ST Pete Free Clinic operates Pinellas County’s largest food bank, which went from distributing £11.3 million of food in 2019 to over £20 million of food in 2021. As *** response to growing food and nutrition insecurity To ensure we address nutrition and not just hunger, we place priority on sourcing and distributing healthy food consistently over 70% of the food we provide. Our community is fresh produce, fresh protein, fresh dairy and are we help fresh pantry, which is among Pinellas County’s largest food pantries has expanded exponentially in the past two years due to sharply increasing in the economically devastating early days of Covid. In april 2020 the Fresh Pantry served 18,000 individuals that month. Two years later, in april 2022. The Fresh pantry served 21,450 individuals. And last month *** number of individuals served exceeded 30,000 picture Emily Arena, the capacity for the Stanley cup finals and double that number. That’s how many individuals needed and receive nutritious food In Pinellas County alone, just from ST pete free clinics, we help fresh pantry Number of individuals we served last month in our fresh pantry represented 9000 households, half of which are families with Children. The fact that we have the capacity and resources to meet this need is *** reflection of leaders like commissioner free and representative web, keeping the need to address food insecurity at the forefront of communities and decision makers, minds and priorities. Women so often serve as the backbone of our families and we know that when women have the tools and resources they need to drive including access to nutritious food, health care, affordable childcare, affordable housing, equitable education and economic opportunity, whole communities thrive the florida. Commission on the status of women’s commitment to highlighting the challenges facing women and girls in florida and fostering collaboration to address those challenges helps ensure that our state leadership understands how critical it is to prioritize solutions that center equity for the diverse women who make up half of florida’s population in order for florida as *** state to thrive. There are few women in florida whose commitment to solutions that center Equity for women is more resounding than representative webs over her career and through the commitment of her personal time to volunteer projects close to her heart, jennifer has proven to be *** champion for not just eliminating hunger and moving communities toward being more nutrition secure, but also working on the issues that intersect with food and nutrition security like employment, behavioral health and affordable housing. In fact, I’ve worked alongside jennifer and that we helped fresh pantry when she showed up, rolled up her sleeves and help distribute food to our neighbors and me that’s jennifer webb, she rolls up her sleeves and she gets things done. Commissioner fried’s appointment of jennifer to the commission is such *** strong statement on the Commissioner’s commitment to increasing food and nutrition security in our state. And I’m just so grateful for that appointment. Thank you. Commissioner frieden thanks jennifer, thank you jennifer for your for not just being here today, but for your organization’s comprehensive approach to improving improving our community health. This truly is all of us taking *** village to make it better for our communities and these unprecedented times. It is crucial that members of this commission are true champions for women and fully invested in finding real solutions that will improve the lives of women and Children in our state. Thank you. Representative jennifer Webb for being *** champion for your community and for your adding of your voice to the florida commission, the status of women. I also want to thank Caitlyn, peacock and jennifer, usually again for being here today and for the important work and amazing work that you both do. Thank you again. And this is what it means to support strong women and we need to continue doing that all throughout the state. Um, so thank you and I will now open it up for any questions. Thank you so much. Commissioner freed journalists. If you have *** question, please type it into the chat box at this time, we’ll give it just *** minute. But if you have *** question, you can also raise your hand just to let us know well while we’re waiting. Um, I just want to also say this to um this is bittersweet for me. This is my last appointment on the status of women. And so it truly is an honor. That is my last appointment with jennifer Webb. So thank you. Okay, Sissy seeing no questions in the chat box. Um, that concludes today’s press conference. Thank you so much. Everyone for joining *** replay will be available at facebook dot com slash fdX. And journalists can direct any follow up questions to coms at FDA dot gov. Thank you all so much. Right
Commissioner Nikki Fried makes new appointment to Florida Commission on the Status of Women
Nikki Fried, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, made the announcement Friday of a new appointment to the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.Fried officially appointed Jennifer Webb Friday morning. Webb says she looks forward to bringing the community and women together as she steps into the position. “As I step forward to assume the position of commissioner on the status of women, with these other amazing leaders, I look forward to bringing together the community, and leaders like our commissioners on the status of women, to work together to draw attention to the silent suffering of so many throughout Florida so that we can keep fighting the fight against hunger and food insecurity,” Webb said at a news conference. The executive director of the Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, Caitlyn Peacock, attended the appointment with Fried and Webb, and she had nothing but good things to say about Webb’s work. St. Petersburg Free Clinic CEO, Jennifer Yeagley also joined them at the appointment.”Over her career and through the committment of her personal time to volunteer projects close to her heart, Jennifer has proven to be a champion for not just eliminating hunger and moving communities toward being nutrition secure, but also working on the issues that intersect with food and nutrition security, like employment, behavioral health and affordable housing,” Peacock said at a news conference. Webb is a former member of the Florida Legislature, and Fried says her dedication to mental health care improvement and fighting food insecurity made her a great choice for the appointment.
Nikki Fried, Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, made the announcement Friday of a new appointment to the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.
Fried officially appointed Jennifer Webb Friday morning.
Webb says she looks forward to bringing the community and women together as she steps into the position.
“As I step forward to assume the position of commissioner on the status of women, with these other amazing leaders, I look forward to bringing together the community, and leaders like our commissioners on the status of women, to work together to draw attention to the silent suffering of so many throughout Florida so that we can keep fighting the fight against hunger and food insecurity,” Webb said at a news conference.
The executive director of the Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, Caitlyn Peacock, attended the appointment with Fried and Webb, and she had nothing but good things to say about Webb’s work. St. Petersburg Free Clinic CEO, Jennifer Yeagley also joined them at the appointment.
“Over her career and through the committment of her personal time to volunteer projects close to her heart, Jennifer has proven to be a champion for not just eliminating hunger and moving communities toward being nutrition secure, but also working on the issues that intersect with food and nutrition security, like employment, behavioral health and affordable housing,” Peacock said at a news conference.
Webb is a former member of the Florida Legislature, and Fried says her dedication to mental health care improvement and fighting food insecurity made her a great choice for the appointment.