Last week, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez highlighted her record and leadership across public health, census, space, human trafficking and various other areas in 2020 as she continues to serve under Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“This year was largely shaped by an unprecedented global health crisis. We continue to work collaboratively with local, state, and national leaders, organizations and entities to address COVID-19 for the people of Florida. Our focus remains on protecting the elderly and developing a plan for vaccine distribution and enhanced therapeutics,” said Nuñez.
The governor’s office offered the following 2020 accomplishments:
Department of Health – Under the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the administration took strategic steps to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect those most vulnerable in the state.
In her role as an advisor to Florida’s Department of Health (DOH), Nuñez worked closely with and advised the state’s DOH leadership to ensure the administration made evidence-based, data-driven policy decisions to face the pandemic head-on. She worked with Vice President Mike Pence, as well as U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the Centers for Disease Control, to guarantee resources for the prevention and containment of the spread of COVID-19.
Furthermore, Nuñez Chaired the Re-Open Florida Task Force Executive Committee, a panel of leaders across key Florida industries tasked with a proposal to safely re-open the state’s economy.
Nuñez also worked with federal partners to ensure Floridians would have access to the best therapeutics, pharmaceuticals, and range of treatment options. Alongside her colleagues from Iowa and Oklahoma, Nuñez took part in the White House Plasma Initiative. This effort served to highlight the efficacy of convalescent plasma treatment for certain COVID-19 positive patients, and as an important call to action for citizens fully recovered from the virus to donate their plasma in hopes of helping fellow Americans during the most challenging health crisis in over a century.
Nuñez conducted numerous interviews and press conferences, in both English and Spanish, to communicate to Floridians across the state the latest information on the spread of COVID-19, as well as the practical and proactive measures they should take to stop the spread of the virus.
Recently, public health data indicated a troubling trend due to COVID-19: many Floridians were neglecting other aspects of their health and well-being, such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, and other important health check-ups. To address the issue, Nuñez spearheaded an event at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, to highlight the importance of Sunshine State residents continuing routine healthcare measures.
Space Florida – Building off the 2019 success of Space Florida, Nuñez continued to serve as Chair of Space Florida’s Board of Directors. In a year where Florida’s economy faced significant challenges due to a global pandemic, the growth and investment in the state’s space industry was stronger than ever. Space Florida continues to attract innovators and job-creators to the Sunshine State that will lead the next generation in the space enterprise. Florida’s position as a global leader in the aerospace industry was affirmed with Brevard County’s selection by the United States Air Force as one of six finalists to house the headquarters of US Space Command. Moreover, the tremendous achievements in Florida’s space industry culminated with the historic SpaceX Crew Dragon launches in May and November sending American astronauts to the International Space Station on an American spacecraft.
This year, Nuñez also had the distinct honor to serve on the National Space Council User’s Advisory Group (UAG). The National Space Council, chaired by Pence and composed of cabinet-level members, operates as an office of policy development on space policy matters. The UAG provides advice, expertise, and recommendations to the National Space Council on ways to improve America’s position in space. Nuñez’s work on the UAG primarily focused on STEM education, aerospace workforce development, and the role that states can play in the future of space aviation.
Census – At the request of DeSantis, Nuñez directed Florida’s efforts to increase the 2020 Census participation. The Census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and takes place every ten years. The count is critical because the data collected determines the allocation for critical federal funding, as well as the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. As the chair of Florida’s Complete Count Committee, Nuñez coordinated all state-level efforts to increase a complete and accurate Census participation. In 2020, 63.8 percent of Floridians self-responded to the U.S. Census Bureau. This outperformed the 2010 census self-participation rate of 63 percent.
Cybersecurity – As chair of Florida’s Cybersecurity Task Force, Nuñez recognizes the ongoing and evolving cyberthreats the State of Florida faces. Throughout 2020, the Cybersecurity Task Force engaged with industry leaders and experts to better understand how to detect potential cyberthreats, protect the state’s valuable data assets, and bolster Florida’s cybersecurity workforce. The Task Force’s work included a thorough review and assessment of the state’s digital infrastructure, governance and operations, as well as potential enhancements to the state government cybersecurity programs. The Cybersecurity Task Force will adopt formal recommendations for the Florida Legislature in early 2021.
Human Trafficking – In January 2020, Nuñez participated in the White House Summit on Human Trafficking, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. At the event, President Trump signed an executive order aiming to combat human trafficking and online child exploitation.
Nuñez also had the privilege to sit on the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, this year, and serve as Chair of the Council’s Legislative and Special Initiatives Committee. In this role, the Lt. Governor proactively took part in human trafficking prevention measures in advance of Super Bowl LIV in early February. The measures included ensuring there was adequate training for health department workers on the signs of human trafficking, coordinating with law enforcement, and a public awareness campaign to shed light on a crime that has lurked in the dark for decades.
Hurricane Disaster Relief – Nuñez prioritized the administration’s efforts on hurricane recovery and assistance for communities impacted by catastrophic storms. After Hurricane Sally ravaged Northwest Florida in September, Nuñez joined DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis on the ground to survey the devastation and assess the necessary disaster relief efforts for the area. The DeSantis administration continues to prioritize recovery efforts.
Last week, Nuñez looked back at her record over 2020.
“Governor DeSantis and I are working daily to safeguard Floridians and continue the upward mobility of Florida’s growing economy. I speak for all of the Sunshine State’s leaders when I say we look forward to the upcoming successes of the 2021 legislative session and the vital issues lawmakers will prioritize to continue the recovery of our beloved state,” Nuñez said.