‘A long-standing fighter for Florida’s teachers and students’: Education unions back Charlie Crist
Charlie Crist makes decent bank. Again.

‘For Charlie this is more than party or politics. It’s always about children and teachers.’

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist’s bid to retake the Governor’s mansion this November just secured the support of the Florida Education Association, the state’s most prominent teachers’ union, representing some 150,000 teachers and faculty at the primary, secondary and college levels.

At a Tuesday news conference in Miami Springs, the FEA, the 30,000-member United Teachers of Dade, and other such unions from across the state announced they are backing Crist over his primary Democratic opponents, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo.

Crist, a former state Senator who served as Florida’s 21st Education Commissioner and 35th Attorney General before assuming the governorship in January 2007, said he is “honored to earn the FEA’s support and the support of teachers’ unions across Florida as we built the movement that will defeat Ron DeSantis.”

“I’m incredibly grateful to receive the support of Florida’s teachers as we build a Florida where our educators have the support they need, the pay they deserve, and the safety they, our students, and their parents should be able to count on,” he said.

“Floridians deserve a Governor who will always stand with our students and teachers, who works to keep partisan politics out of the classroom. As a former statewide Commissioner of Education and public-school kid, I understand how critical good public schools are for our future.”

Locking down the FEA endorsement is a big win for Crist, who has already secured nods from hundreds of current and former elected and community leaders throughout the state and nation. His recent endorsers include state Senate Democratic Leader Pro Tempore Bobby Powell, state Sens. Shevrin JonesLori Berman and Tina Polsky; state Reps. Nick Duran and Fentrice Driskell; and Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe.

According to FEA President Andrew Spar, there is “no question” Crist will be the best Governor for Florida’s students.

“He is genuinely committed to ensuring that every child gets the education that he or she deserves and needs, no matter that child’s race, background, gender identity, sexual orientation, ZIP code or ability,” Spar said.

UTD President Karla Hernandez-Mats called Crist “a long-standing fighter for Florida’s teachers and students,” citing his veto in 2010 of legislation that, among other things, eliminated tenure for newly hired teachers and tied a portion of teacher salaries to test scores.

Crist was a Republican at the time and acted against party lines to nix the bill, which former Gov. Jeb Bush had backed. Hernandez-Mats, whose involvement as a teacher advocate began in opposition to that bill, said UTD is “proud to wholeheartedly support” Crist’s campaign.

“As Florida’s next Governor, not only will Charlie continue to put teachers first; he will work to keep schools safe,” Hernandez-Mats said. “For Charlie, this is more than party or politics. It’s always about children and teachers.”

The FEA and UTD are members of the Florida arm of the AFL-CIO, the biggest federation of labor unions in the country, comprising more than 12 million active and retired workers.

While the AFL-CIO won’t formally endorse candidates for this year’s elections until its June 23-26 convention in Orlando, Hernandez-Mats told the Miami Herald the FEA and UTD endorsements are “the first step” in securing the AFL-CIO backing for Crist.

“We want to get the full endorsement of the Florida AFL-CIO,” she said. “Teachers are very frustrated. We feel like our current government isn’t listening to us, and it’s time for things to change.”

The endorsements come one week after an 18-year-old former student fatally shot 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, marking the deadliest school shooting in a decade.

Schools throughout the U.S. remain on high alert, and as is the case following nearly all such occurrences, there have been renewed calls for gun control measures nationwide.

As detailed in his “Safer Florida for All” plan, Crist supports banning assault weapons, enhanced background checks, mandatory reporting if a firearm is lost or stolen and crackdowns on ghost guns and gun trafficking.

He supports having armed guards at schools but opposes arming teachers, something several GOP officials support, including DeSantis, who has been largely silent on the Uvalde shooting.

Crist told the Herald that there’s a logical disconnect in wanting to arm teachers while also banning them from giving “woke” lessons and holding discussions about gender identity or sexual preference.

“The notion that Gov. DeSantis wants and is banning books, yet at the same time wants to arm teachers,” Crist said, “shows his lack of any compassion, intellectual level or common sense in dealing with real-life problems.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Shut Your. . .Door

    May 31, 2022 at 11:52 am

    The armed, trained and prepared citizen, whether teacher or otherwise, is the only real defense against a deranged person, whether that person is making a weapon of a gun, a knife, a brick or a fist. Perhaps when educational staff is made fully cognizant of the dangers inherent in this diseased 21st Century culture, they will remember not to leave the door open behind them–and to keep their means of self-defense handy.

    • Bill

      June 1, 2022 at 8:03 am

      So don’t attempt to fix the problem and just arm everybody to the teeth? If that’s the best we can do as a country, that’s pretty damned sad. Maybe we need to elect folks who can get stuff done rather than the second rate entertainers that we seem to be stuck with now.

      • Tom

        June 1, 2022 at 7:28 pm

        You pathetic liar Bill.
        Senator Scott as Gov offered and worked on passing the flag gun law.
        With age 21 and 3 day wait. Legislature and he signed it. It’s a good a step forward and Schumer and Pelosi with this delusional joke of a Potus, could have a vote last week or tomorrow. It would likely pass.

        Sen Scott offered it last week and schumer in his wisdom objected.
        Amazingly he allowed a vote the week before to allow abortions til the birth.
        Keep those abortions coming.

        Save it Bill, you and tjc are the problem not the solution.

        DeSantis is the answer! America’s Gov do for America what you have done for Florida. Rising tide for all. Biden, Harris are economic ruin! You morons are destroying America. What a joke!

        • Bill

          June 2, 2022 at 7:53 am

          I think your reading comprehension leaves something to be desired. I get the bit where your lips are practically welded to desantiss’ backside but if you’re going to insult me, at least insult me based on something I actually said rather than making assumptions based on whatever conversation you’re having with yourself.

          • Tom

            June 3, 2022 at 6:58 am

            Bill Liar, you are the one sucking on ass! You are clueless Bill along with tjc and misbeliever.

            Scott offered the flag law, the one he signed in Florida and schumer blocked it? He had time to vote on roe v wade, abortions til birth bill, Bill LOL.

            Don’t attack me, you pathetic loser. Grow a pair and defend it?
            You are a liar period! Full stop.

            DeSantis wipes the floor with Dums like you. LMAO, I suffer you Manchurians gladly, happily.
            Everything said is clear above, truths hurt, facts are funny things. You, tjc and misbeliever can’t play with me pal. I am FP legend.

            Who you got naughty Nicki fraud, chameleon crispy critters. No chance!

            It’s over!

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    • TJC

      June 1, 2022 at 1:57 pm

      So a hundred armed cops stood outside that elementary school for an hour last week because they — trained professional cops — couldn’t figure out a good plan to rescue those children stuck inside with a lone gunman…And you think a couple of teachers with pistols couldn’t taken care of it?
      And you think teachers aren’t “fully cognizant of the dangers” they face today? You are delusional.

  • Tom

    May 31, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    Oh ok, America’s Governor passed and signed off on two pay raises and bonuses for educators. Where is the loyalty.
    The NEA and Florida President fought reopening schools.

    DeSantis’s decision has been universally affirmed as the right decision by Harvard analysis, and any objective standard.

    Crist is a chameleon, flip flopper liar.

    Gov Ron wins big!

    • TJC

      June 1, 2022 at 2:08 pm

      “…two pay raises and bonuses for educators. Where is the loyalty.”
      Are you accusing DeSantis of trying to bribe teachers with pay raises and bonuses in exchange for their loyalty? Sure sounds like it.
      Poor Tom, your finely honed sense of justice tells you, “Accept a bribe, give the love.” You do indeed share the same sense of justice as the Governor himself, and for that I am sure you are very proud.
      Made me chuckle when I read your complaint.

      • Tom

        June 1, 2022 at 7:09 pm

        TJC, Shove it up your pie hole you scumcrat moron. Dums are historic in buying influence, no one like them.

        Facts are funny things. That’s right two raises and bonuses. What did the moron NEA corrupt bastard offer, weingarten? Told educators to stay home. America’s Gov told them and you to go scratch.

        Without question Gov was correct on opening schools. Parents know and are supportive. As he was in Covid across the board.

        You morons offer nothing, know nothing and do nothing.

        Gov worked with legislature and passed it twice, law enforcement and first responders.

        Some respect and appreciation is appropriate. You can go wipe and get your toilet paper off shoes loser.

        America’s Gov wins bigjy! Biden’s approval is 35% in Florida. Dems are done! Your looking a shellacking of major order. Chameleon snd or fraud have no chance. Enjoy!

      • ScienceBLVR

        June 1, 2022 at 8:28 pm

        So right, T. Ok as the public school teacher in the house..those great $1000 bonuses DeSantis made a big show of giving to teachers? Straight from the Biden administration’s American Rescue plan, so I guess that cash really came from Joe Smoe in Kansas. Thanks, Joe,! And the raises? Yeah well almost all of that goes to beginning teachers to try to convince them to stay amid the risk to their health, their safety, and sanity dealing with the authoritarian DeSantis regime. My district and teachers association battle out pay raises, insurance costs, planning time, etc every year. It has nothing to do with the nuts in Tally.

        • Tom

          June 1, 2022 at 9:30 pm

          Total misdirection from misbeliever.
          This is why our education system is a disaster, with low grade misbeliever.

          Set the record straight, moron TJC cried Wolf that Gov was bribing educators cause I questioned lack of appreciation in providing increase and bonus, twice. Now moron misbeliever cries that it’s POTUS’s money.

          It’s our money you Manchurian morons. It’s not Biden’s or Desantis money. How ungrateful of a society are you both. DeSantis/legislature twice addressed lack of educators being funded. Weintraub from NEA didn’t want them in school. The Florida FEA sued after the first raise, bonus, How ungrateful are you.

          DeSantis clearly was correct on Covid and all Floridians benefitted directly or indirectly. All reasonable studies prove that.

          Biden is at 35% approval in Florida, he’s a 100 PF weight on Dums. He’s under 50% in 46 states. It’s Over. 40 to 70 new house seats, and 10 Senate seats, as Obummer says shellacking!
          America’s Gov and Rubio win bigly!
          Enjoy it.

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  • Tom

    June 1, 2022 at 3:39 pm

    With democrats, it’s never about the children. It’s always about the teachers (or more to the point, the teacher’s union)!

    • Tom

      June 1, 2022 at 6:58 pm

      Not from the original legend Tom.
      Fake moniker. Clueless

  • Brian

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  • Yeah

    June 5, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    With two pants in the family and pushing your child’s structure on others priceless

Comments are closed.


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