Union leader endorsements pour in for Manny Diaz to lead Florida Democrats

Manny A. Diaz FDP
Diaz is so far the clear frontrunner for FDP chair.

Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz rolled out endorsements Tuesday from ten organized labor leaders supporting his bid to become the next chair of the Florida Democratic Party.

Based on his organization and the widespread support he’s announced from elected and party leaders so far, Diaz is the presumed frontrunner in a field that now has five candidates.

On Tuesday, Orange County Democratic Chair Wes Hodge entered the contest. Hillsborough County Democratic Party Chair Ione Townsend, Cynthia Moore Chestnut, who leads the Alachua County Democratic Party, Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida Chair Janelle Christensen, and Nikki Barnes, who has served as a Democratic National Committee member.

Diaz’s campaign announced endorsements Tuesday from current and former union officials who have leadership roles at the local, state, and national level.

They include Fedrick Ingram, former President of Florida Education Association and 2006 Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year; Martha Baker, president of Service Employees International Union Florida and a member of the SEIU International Executive Board; Mark Richard, founder and former president of United Faculty of Miami-Dade and longtime attorney and advisor to the South Florida AFL-CIO, SEIU, Transport Workers Union of America, and other unions; Anna Fusco, president of Broward Teachers Union, Local 1975 ;  John Parker, president of the Democratic Labor Caucus of Florida;  Alexander Cardenas, president of Miami Association of Firefighters, Local 587; Dan Reynolds, president of the National Federation of Public and Private Employees; Jeffrey Mitchell, president of TWA Local 291 and president of the South Florida AFL-CIO; Chuck Hernandez, president of the TWU Local 568; and Elizabeth Ramsay, president of the United Faculty of Miami-Dade College.

“I have seen Manny’s leadership firsthand as the former Mayor of Miami, my hometown, and his record of transforming a city by investing in every single community is exactly the experience we need leading the Florida Democratic Party,” Ingram said in a news release from Diaz’s campaign.

“SEIU Florida wholeheartedly endorses Manny Diaz for chair of the Florida Democratic Party. Manny is a friend of labor and has the vision and capacity to set us on the longterm path of winning power for working people,” Baker said.

“I have worked in the labor movement in Florida my entire career. I know Manny well. He has always been there for our unions, the membership and for all working families. He stood up for us during difficult times, he stood by us when others would not, and Manny pushed other leaders to do what was right no matter how difficult,” Richard said.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]



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