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Nikki Fried makes her debut in Winner/Loser of the week in Florida politics

And she’s not the winner.
Traffic moves through some street flooding near Edison Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard as severe storms reach the area on April 19 in Tampa. (MONICA HERNDON | Times)

Winner of the week

Climate change. Once the phrase that dare not speak its name, climate change is all the rage now in the halls of Florida government. On NPR this week, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor praised St. Petersburg for its climate change efforts, and vowed that she would hire a “sustainability officer,” a full-time position that the Sunshine City and Clearwater have already filled. Even Gov. Ron DeSantis is leaning into the forbidden. Last week, his administration posted an advertisement for a newly funded position that would prepare the state for ... climate change. It was only five years ago that Florida Department of Environmental Protection employees were told never to use the terms “climate change” or “global warming.” Welcome to planet Earth, Florida. Let’s hope it’s not too late.


Loser of the week

Nikki Fried. Florida’s new agriculture commissioner, the only statewide-elected Democrat, got schooled by Republicans in her first legislative session. Fried had the bold idea to inject color and personality into the stickers on gas pumps across the state, her face the most notable addition. The personal touch drew comparisons to campaign signs. What do you know, two weeks after the stickers were ordered, lawmakers added language to legislation that explicitly says the sticker on the gas pump may only use a “combination of lettering, numbering, words, or the department logo.” Burn.