Fried calls Caulkins’ comments ‘disgusting’ [podcast]

Santa Rosa County Commissioner James Caulkins earlier this week accused Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried of intentionally trying to burn down Santa Rosa County.

On April 8, a prescribed burn in the Garcon Point area got out of control, burning nearly 200 acres. At county commission meeting, Caulkins said, “The head of the Florida Department of Agriculture is Nikki Fried. She’s the only Democrat in the state that’s in the cabinet. What happened in Santa Rosa County was intentional.”

Commissioner Fried appeared on WCOA this morning. I asked her about Caulkins’ comments.

“I think this is the most disgusting, outrageous claim that I’ve heard yet, to date,” said Fried. “I mean the men and women of the forestry firefighters and our wildlife preserve individuals are heroes. We all know that. They come out here into the Panhandle and deal with forest fires all the time, putting their own lives at risk, saving properties, saving land, saving individuals.”

She continued, “And to think that anybody would ever put any of them in harm’s way is so outrageous and ludicrous. I cannot believe that would ever come out of the mouth of an elected official. But welcome to politics of 2022, and it’s just unfortunate that’s even something that it seems to need to be discussed.”