This week, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez highlighted the DeSantis administration’s record in 2021, focusing on aspects of government under her leadership across public health, space, cyber, human trafficking, and various other areas.
“Our administration continues to strive for ways to put Floridians first. I am committed to doing what is right and I am proud to stand alongside our governor in leading the free and great state of Florida,” said Nuñez.
The governor’s office showcased the administration’s effort in the following areas:
Department of Health
Throughout 2021, Lt. Governor Nuñez has served as a key advisor on health policy and, alongside Governor DeSantis, advocated not only for access to vaccines for those who wished to be vaccinated, but also for widespread availability of monoclonal antibody treatment (MAB). The administration quickly recognized that MAB treatment prevents COVID-19 symptoms, reduces hospitalizations, and saves lives. Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, the state of Florida quickly set up 25 regional sites to provide this life-saving treatment.
To underscore the effectiveness of monoclonal antibody treatment, the Lt. Governor publicly shared the personal story of how MABs accelerated her 85-year-old mother’s recovery from COVID-19. Additionally, the Lt. Governor conducted numerous interviews and press conferences, in English and Spanish, to communicate to Floridians across the state the latest information on COVID-19 and the effective use of these life-saving tools.
In October of 2021, Lt. Governor Nuñez spearheaded a letter with 14 lieutenant governors across the country urging the White House to reverse their decision to seize control of the distribution of life-saving monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19.
While Floridians continue to overcome the effects of COVID-19, the Lt. Governor recognizes that there are other health-related issues that impact Floridian’s health, well-being, and quality of life. As an advisor to the Florida Department of Health, the Lt. Governor attended State Health Improvement Plan Steering Committee meetings with leaders across the state to establish the new priority health issues and topic areas in the State Health Improvement Plan for 2022-2026. The forthcoming priority health issues the Department will focus on include Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias, behavioral health, chronic diseases and conditions, infectious diseases, injury, safety and violence, maternal and child health, and social and economic conditions impacting health.
Sadly, several counties in Florida have some of the highest HIV transmission rates in the country. In 2019, the federal government launched the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative to put an end to the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030. Understanding that HIV is a problematic health concern in Florida, Lt. Governor Nuñez was an active partner in implementing the first phase of the initiative. To continue combatting this health issue, on World AIDS Day earlier in December, the Lt. Governor collaborated with State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, and provide information on HIV testing, treatment, and prevention.
The year 2021 reaffirmed the critical role Florida plays in commercial space travel and exploration. In her third year as Chair of Space Florida’s Board of Directors, Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez provided steadfast leadership in Florida’s continued quest to becoming the world’s premier aerospace location. This year alone, Florida hosted 23 licensed commercial launches from the Space Coast, including the SpaceX Inspiration 4 and Crew-3 missions. Florida also continues to diversify its capabilities beyond rockets and launches. Under the Lt. Governor’s tenure, Terran Orbital brought its micro-satellite manufacturing headquarters to central Florida and Boeing further expanded its operations at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville.
Space Florida also bolstered the state’s economic development through aerospace development. Lt. Governor Nuñez and the Board of Directors were instrumental in finalizing deals with six companies, bringing $394 million in funding and investments to the Sunshine State. As Chair, Lt. Governor Nuñez paved the way for an anticipated 2,369 new jobs with an average annual wage of $73,000. Florida truly is the place for space.
Lt. Governor Nuñez has remained diligent in her commitment to combating human trafficking throughout the state of Florida. As the longest-standing member on the Attorney General’s Statewide Council on Human Trafficking and as Chair of the Legislative and Special Initiatives Committee, the Lt. Governor has worked with local leaders across the state to develop policies and partnerships that will end this heinous crime.
For the second year in a row, Florida had the privilege of hosting the Super Bowl. In advance of Super Bowl LV, the Lt. Governor proactively took part in human trafficking prevention measures. These measures included collaborating with partners to provide adequate training to many, including but not limited to, Uber drivers, all county health departments and their employees, and truck drivers throughout Florida.
In addition, the Lt. Governor has collaborated with organizations, legislators, and stakeholders to continue raising awareness on the prevalence of human trafficking. Earlier this year, she participated in a roundtable to discuss strategic steps and measures to eliminate the prevalence of human trafficking throughout Florida. The measures included expanding education and training on human trafficking, enhancing services for victims, and reviewing established penalties for perpetrators of human trafficking.
2021 was a historic year in improving the state’s cybersecurity infrastructure. Under the Lt. Governor’s leadership, the Florida Cybersecurity Task Force adopted formal recommendations and provided its final report to the Florida Legislature in February. The findings were influential in creating the language for HB 1297, improving the state’s cyber hygiene through enhanced governance and operations. The administration also secured more than $30 million in cybersecurity funding through the Florida Leads Budget. This is the most funding appropriated for cybersecurity in Florida’s history.
HB1297 also created the Florida Cybersecurity Advisory Council, which the Lt. Governor has the distinct honor of serving as chair. Alongside an impressive group of industry leaders and experts, the Council aims to share best practices and identify discrepancies among state and federal cybersecurity laws, finding ways to better protect Florida’s digital infrastructure from malicious cyber-attacks. The council will submit an annual report to further implement measures to protect our state agencies, assets, and employees.
As the daughter of Cuban exiles who fled the island in 1961, Lt. Governor Nuñez has been an outspoken critic of the communist regime. In July, Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez joined Governor DeSantis for a roundtable with Cuban-American leaders, Cuban dissidents, and elected officials in Miami supporting the freedom-seeking Cuban people who protested the tyrannical grip of the Castro and Diaz-Canel regime. Both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor urged the Biden Administration to take a strong stance against the oppressive dictatorship by providing internet access to Cubans on the island so that their powerful efforts could garner world attention and support.
At this time, the Biden Administration has yet to provide the Cuban people with unfettered access to the internet, all the while various companies have the capabilities to do so.
Lt. Governor Nuñez also participated in a roundtable discussion with Governor DeSantis, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, congressional members of the Leader’s Advisory Team on Cuba, and Latin American community leaders in Miami to discuss and identify policies that will support the protestors and hold the dictatorship accountable for its decades of human rights abuses.
For more than 20 days, Lt. Governor Nuñez stood alongside Governor DeSantis and Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, at the tragic Surfside Building collapse, meeting with victims’ families, survivors, Miami-Dade County leaders, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, United Hatzalah of Israel, and Urban Search and Rescue teams from across the country. Our Florida Division of Emergency Management was promptly prepared and supported all response efforts of the Surfside Building Collapse as well as implemented multiple co-response plans with more than 440 heroic first responders and state workers on-site. Lt. Governor Nuñez actively engaged with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue chiefs, Miami-Dade Police directors, and first responders on site to provide support and assistance.