Michele Rayner secured endorsements from two key unions in her run for Florida House District 70 — the Florida Education Association and the Florida chapter of the AFL-CIO.
The FEA is the largest union in Florida, made up of more than 135,000 members. The association, which is a federation of teacher and education workers’ unions, praised Rayner for her dedication to teachers and school equity.
“We are committed to supporting candidates who stand up for our teachers,” FEA President Fedrick Ingram said in a news release. “Michele’s commitment to equity in education and support of our teachers is needed in Tallahassee and we are confident she will be a force that will bring about necessary changes.”
The Florida AFL-CIO is a federation made up of more than 500 local labor unions and councils and includes more than a million members.
“We endorsed Michele Rayner because she has a proven record of standing up for our working class,” Florida AFL-CIO President Mike Williams said in a news release. “We look forward to partnering with Michele in supporting living wages, expanded healthcare access, and prioritizing the health and safety of our workers and retirees.”
The endorsements from the two unions add to Rayner’s growing list of high-profile endorsements, including Ruth’s List Florida, SEIU Florida and Sen. Darryl Rouson, who formerly held the district before being elected to the Senate.
“The support of our workers and educators is both humbling and empowering,” Rayner said. “It has never been more important to improve our education system by increasing funding for public schools in District 70 and all across Florida and uplifting our working-class families. I am excited to partner with the FEA and Florida AFL-CIO to put people over profits and make sure every Floridian can reach their full potential.”
Rayner is the founder and principal attorney at Civil Liberty Law and the current local counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. She previously served as an aide to former Sen. Arthenia Joyner and served as an assistant public defender for Hillsborough and Pasco counties.
She is one of four Democrats in the race for HD 70, running to replace Rep. Wengay Newton, who is not seeking reelection and instead running for Pinellas County Commission.
The other candidates include Keisha Bell, Michelle Grimsley and Mark Oliver.
The four candidates, all Democrats, will be up for election in the August Primary Election. Florida’s House District 70 includes parts of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.