Florida Agriculture Commissioner

Primary voters chose Republican Wilton Simpson and Democrat Naomi Blemur to compete for the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in November’s general election.

The winner will take the seat held for the last four years by Nikki Fried, who ran in the Democratic primary for governor but came in second to Charlie Crist.

News4Jax sent a questionnaire to each candidate asking about their background and their views on several issues. Scroll down to read the responses of those seeking your vote in their own words.

Note: Responses are sorted alphabetically by party and are presented exactly as submitted, with no editing by News4Jax staff.

Naomi Esther Blemur

Naomi Esther Blemur

Occupation: Consultant, Business Owner

Age: (No response)

Family: Son

Education: Undergrad: Queen’s College, Masters in Business Administration

Political experience: DNC Member for North Miami

We asked our most-loyal viewers (News4Jax Insiders) what three issues they would most like candidates to address:

Viewers’ No. 1 issue: The economy

  • Life in the state of Florida is getting too expensive and it is not because of inflation alone, it is because companies are putting profit over people. In the same way, housing insurance, and rent prices are too high and small companies are getting priced out. Therefore, we should find ways to regulate large corporations and provide incentives for companies that are willing to put Floridians first.

Viewers’ No. 2 issue: Voter rights/election integrity

  • It’s true that some of the highest amounts of voter fraud in the country took place in FL. Our department of state successfully investigated those issues and prosecuted the individuals responsible. Returning many of the forms of accessible voting options, while not in the scope of my office when elected, would be something I’d advocate for.

Viewers’ No. 3 issue: Gun rights/gun safety

  • As a mother to a young child, the thought of my child going to school with the possibility of my son not coming terrifies me. We must close the loophole that allows individuals to get weapon licenses without background checks. Raise the minimum purchase age for firearms to 21 years of age. Under my administration, every application for a concealed permit to carry will be vetted.

News4Jax asked each candidate three additional questions to help voters determine which most agrees with their views:

What do you see as the top three issues facing the state and nation over the next two years?

  1. Homeownership is completely unattainable for much of our population. Without home ownership, working-class families and middle-income families are at risk of being taken advantage of.
  2. Small businesses being pushed out by big box stores and creating food deserts, as well as the loss of the “family-owned farm” will quickly create an even more unaffordable state.
  3. Water quality issues, whether through pollution, saltwater intrusion, or other forms of contamination disproportionately affect lower-income families.

Do you believe Joe Biden is the legitimately elected president of the United States?

  • Yes.

In light of the Supreme Court ruling striking down Roe v. Wade, would you propose or support additional laws either banning abortion entirely or guaranteeing reproductive rights?

  • I am for the ability of every woman to have the right to choose.

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

  • I’m deeply connected to a network of small businesses and nonprofits across our state, owned largely by black and brown people, women, and other minorities. I see their needs, I feel their struggles. Addressing those will help families and businesses with similar struggles across the state. With over 20 years of experience in retail management, commercial banking, and not-for-profit management, I am ready to be an advocate for small farmers to obtain capital.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

  • What inspired me to run for this office is my grandmother who was a farm worker in the United States. I come from a family of farmers as I am a first-generation Haitian American and a woman who works hard. I want Floridians to know they had an advocate in Florida’s cabinet fighting for a cleaner Florida, farmers, and an advocate of what we produce, a fighter for renewable energy. Most importantly, a mother who vetted concealed weapon license applications because every child should be protected by our elected officials as much as they protect their own.

Campaign website: naomiblemur.com

Campaign’s social media site(s): LinkedIn - linktr.ee/naomiforfl

Wilton Simpson

Wilton Simpson

This candidate, who is leaving the Florida Senate after eight years, has not responded to email and telephone invitations to submit the News4Jax candidate questionnaire. His answers will be added promptly if the questionnaire is returned at any point prior to election day.

Campaign website: wiltonsimpson.com