Today, Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez highlighted the 2022 Administration’s successes across public health, space, cyber, human trafficking, and various other areas.
“In our first term in office, we not only fulfilled our promises but we have solidified Florida’s preeminence as the freest state in the union,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez.
“Whether in areas of public health or workforce training, our administration has put Floridians first and has secured Florida’s future for generations to come. As Lieutenant Governor, I am proud to serve alongside America’s Governor, Governor Ron DeSantis, and I look forward to keeping Florida free in our next term,” Nuñez said.
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Department of Health
As a key advisor to the Department of Health, Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez has continued to tackle issues related to the health, well-being, and quality of life of Floridians. This past year, the Lt. Governor worked closely with the Florida Department of Health Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, to address numerous public health issues including infectious diseases, maternal and child health, and heart disease.
Lt. Governor Nuñez consistently met with a wide variety of public and private sector partners to discuss routine screening for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis C. In addition to expanding routine screenings in Florida, the Lt. Governor has particularly focused on identifying strategies that can help prevent new HIV transmission. In November, Lt. Governor Nuñez joined stakeholders to discuss Florida’s Integrated HIV Prevention and Patient Care Strategic Plan. Together with the Department of Health, they are identifying ways to leverage community resources and partnerships with a goal of eliminating HIV in Florida.
Throughout our state, 26 delivery hospitals achieved the Healthy People 2030 goal of C-section deliveries for first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies at or below 23.6 percent in 2020. As a result, the Lt. Governor participated in a statewide Hospital Cesarean Section Awards tour to personally congratulate and recognize these hospitals and their care teams for their achievement.
Every year, on September 29, the Florida Department of Health observes World Heart Day. This year, the Lt. Governor joined the Surgeon General in Citrus County and participated in a 5K designed to raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to prevent heart disease and stroke.
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Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez continued to focus on protecting Floridians from human trafficking and helping victims regain their identity, dignity, and freedom.
Earlier this year, the Lt. Governor joined the Attorney General to launch a new initiative, the 100 Percent Club. The initiative encourages Florida businesses to ensure that 100% of their employees receive human trafficking training to help individuals identify the signs and indicators of this crime, raise public awareness, and reduce incidences of human trafficking throughout the state. They also announced Florida’s own hotline to report human trafficking to law enforcement.
The Lt. Governor also continued to serve on the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking and as Chair of the Legislative and Special Initiatives (LSI) Committee. The LSI Committee, which is charged with addressing legislative priorities and special initiatives to combat human trafficking, met with leaders, experts, survivors, and world-renowned figures to address this heinous crime.
Because the Lt. Governor understands the threat that human trafficking poses to all Floridians, the administration has taken an all hands on deck approach to dismantle this ever-changing, multifaceted crime. Throughout the year, the Lt. Governor held multiple roundtable discussions with state agencies and state leaders to discuss the evils of human trafficking and actions to combat this crime and help victims. Together with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Shevaun Harris, they held roundtable discussions with Citrus Health Network and One More Child, providers that help support victims of human trafficking through their programs. On both occasions, the Lt. Governor met with survivors, clinicians, and peer advocates who directly work with victims. Additionally, the Lt. Governor, joined by Florida Highway Patrol Colonel Gene Spaulding and other law enforcement leaders, held a roundtable discussion to discuss law enforcement’s efforts to interdict illicit activity, including human trafficking, on Florida’s 12,000 miles of highway.
In June, the Lt. Governor visited the U.S. Southern Border and received a briefing with Texas law enforcement about human smuggling and drug trafficking and the ongoing border crisis exacerbated by the Biden administration’s inaction. While in Texas, Lt. Governor Nuñez also did a tour of the Rio Grande and saw firsthand the ways in which traffickers smuggle undocumented aliens and illicit drugs into the country, which has contributed to the ongoing fentanyl crisis.
The administration has taken significant and aggressive actions to interdict human smuggling, human trafficking, drug smuggling, and seizing illegal weapons worsened by the crisis at the border. The administration formed a strike force comprised of state and local law enforcement and petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to impanel a statewide grand jury to examine these criminal networks.
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In her fourth year as Chair of Space Florida’s Board of Directors, Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez led one of the state’s most impressive years in aerospace growth. Under the Lieutenant Governor’s leadership, Space Florida supported 39 launches from Florida’s Space Coast, expanded 15 aerospace companies, and created and retained nearly 6,000 jobs throughout the state. To promote future growth, Lt. Governor Nuñez and Space Florida staff attended the Space Symposium this past April. The delegation met with aerospace companies SpaceX and Blue Origin, U.S. Space Force leadership, and many other small, medium, and large companies to champion further development in Florida. Efforts like this helped yield an increase in Space Florida’s Capital Programs pipeline, which has an estimated value of $2.4 billion across 85 pending projects. Together with the Board of Space Florida, we have set out to expand to $10 billion by 2030.
With state aerospace business reaching new heights, Florida looks to position itself as the premier state for future aerospace military operations. With a robust aerospace ecosystem and veteran-first approach, Florida would be an ideal location to support the United States Space Force (USSF) overall mission. Understanding its significance, Lt. Governor Nuñez led a statewide effort urging the Secretary of the Air Force to bring the USSF Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM) headquarters and Space Delta 13, the education and training branch, to Florida. The Lt. Governor highlighted Florida as the most innovative military training technology hub in the country with an impressive workforce pipeline to support the mission.
To meet new demands, the administration has been committed to expanding workforce initiatives, especially in our aerospace sector. In June, with support from the Department of Education, Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida, Space Florida, and Enterprise Florida, Lt. Governor Nuñez brought aerospace industry leaders together to discuss specific needs in an effort to help fill critical positions in advance manufacturing and aerospace jobs. The workgroup provided critical information, which allowed the administration to dedicate $30 million to support workforce development. Due to initiatives like this, Florida ranks #1 in the nation for attracting and developing skilled workforce.
Lt. Governor Nuñez also launched the first Florida Space Art Contest. Students in grades K-5 were tasked to create an original art piece inspired by the theme “Florida is the Place for Space.” The contest generated over 2,500 submissions across the state. Two grand prize winners had their original art pieces flown into space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket which supported a Starlink mission.
“The passion for space travel is alive and well in our creative Florida students,” Lieutenant Governor Nuñez said. Her dedication to aerospace continues to solidify Florida as a global leader in the sector.
This past year, we saw continued momentum in strengthening the state’s cybersecurity infrastructure. As Chair of the Florida Cybersecurity Advisory Council, Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez supported the administration’s efforts to bolster the state’s cybersecurity response efforts, promote workforce initiatives, and develop best practices to better protect Florida’s digital infrastructure from cyber-attacks. This past June, the Cybersecurity Advisory Council submitted its annual report to the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the Florida House. These recommendations seek to enhance operational readiness and further align our enterprise information technology systems to meet the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards.
The Florida Legislature supported Governor DeSantis’ and Florida Digital Service’s vision by providing critical financial resources to address the Advisory Council’s recommendations. These investments included:
- 23 full-time positions to support the work of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)
- $50 million in Enterprise Cybersecurity Resiliency to implement Advisory Council recommendations
- $30 million for local government technical assistance grants
- $30 million to Cyber Florida for government cybersecurity training, with oversight from the Cybersecurity Advisory Council
Farnborough Airshow with Enterprise Florida 2022
In July, Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez led the Florida delegation to the United Kingdom for the 2022 Farnborough Airshow. The Florida Pavilion, one of the largest at the airshow, housed 20 Florida company exhibits. The international mission allowed the Lieutenant Governor and Enterprise Florida’s Economic Development Team to meet with some of the world’s most recognizable aviation and aerospace companies, including United Launch Alliance, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin. Her participation supported a record $77 million in actual and expected sales for the state. The work at Farnborough has been instrumental in making Florida the number one state for maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations in the U.S., with this activity generating $1.5 billion in GDP annually.
Hurricanes Ian and Nicole
On September 29, Hurricane Ian made landfall in Cayo Costa with winds of 155 miles per hours, two miles per hour short of a Category 5 hurricane. Several weeks later, Hurricane Nicole made landfall near Vero Beach as a Category 1 hurricane. Despite their impact and destruction, Floridians remained resilient and steadfast in their fight to recover.
After Hurricane Ian, Lt. Governor Nuñez took swift actions to help Floridians rebuild their lives. She prioritized visiting the areas most affected by the storm and helping Floridians. Lt. Governor Nuñez, in collaboration with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Melanie Griffin and Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham, visited a shelter, distributed meals and supplies, and interacted with children and adults facing unimaginable destruction. The Lt. Governor also visited schools to assess their damage and find ways to help them safely reopen and get students get back in the classroom.
A crucial partner in helping Floridians was the faith-based community. Lt. Governor Nuñez joined several churches and faith-based organizations to help prepackage meals, supplies, and other goods, as well as distribute them to Floridians in need. The Lt. Governor joined New Hope Baptist Church, Next Level Church, One More Child, and the Jewish Federation of Sarasota to support affected Floridians.
With First Lady Casey DeSantis’ steadfast efforts in leading the Florida Disaster Fund, Lt. Governor Nuñez was honored to accept a donation on behalf of Governor DeSantis from the Government of Taiwan through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami to assist in the ongoing recovery, restoration, and rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
Lt. Governor Nuñez joined the State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) in a trade mission to Israel in March with five other lieutenant governors to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between our respective states and America’s greatest ally in the Middle East. The mission included meetings with Israeli government and business leaders on issues like economic development, trade, and security.
As Lt. Governor of the most pro-Israel state in the country, Nuñez exchanged ideas with Israeli industry leaders, met with government officials and military leaders, and visited the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. During her visit, Lt. Governor Nuñez toured INSIGHTEC, a leading technological medical device company that is also headquartered in Miami, Florida, to see firsthand their innovative machinery that uses sound waves to target diseased tissue without invasive surgery.
The Lt. Governor reaffirmed our state’s commitment to Israel by participating in important business, cultural and academic meetings that strengthened our administration’s longstanding partnerships.