‘Dedication and sacrifice’: 5 more unions endorse Debra Tendrich for open HD 89 seat

Debra Tendrich
She now also carries support from a national gun safety group and a local Spanish newspaper.

Debra Tendrich’s bid to represent Palm Beach County in the House continues to pick up steam in the endorsements department.

She recently welcomed five new nods from labor groups that together represent more than 1 million vital Florida workers.

They include the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association (CTA), SEIU Florida, Florida Professional Firefighters and both the state and Palm Beach-Treasure Coast chapters of the AFL-CIO.

La Guia News, a Spanish-language media outlet covering Palm Beach, has also endorsed Tendrich. She’s also been designated as a “Gun Sense Candidate” by Moms Demand Action.

Palm Beach CTA President Gordan Longhofer said his group, which represents nearly 7,000 educators, said Tendrich’s support for public education and the school system’s workers was key to earning its support.

“I know and greatly appreciate the dedication and sacrifice you are willing to make to service the residents of your district/seat,” he said in a letter Tendrich shared with Florida Politics.

“As educators, all members of the (Palm Beach CTA) wish to express their gratitude for your past support on key issues that concern our profession and the public education systems at large. We look forward to your continued support on said issues.”

SEIU Florida Executive Director Alyssa Cundari Roelans said her organization decided to support Tendrich because it believes her values align with the priorities of the more than 80,000 local health care, public and property workers it represents.

“We believe you share a common vision for Florida and the nation — one in which racial justice and the ability to join together in union is central to working families having economic security, rights and a legacy for the next generation,” Cundari Roelans said in a letter.

Florida Professional Firefighters President and CEO Wayne “Bernie” Bernoska confirmed his group’s endorsement of Tendrich in a similar letter. The organization represents 28,000 firefighters and emergency medical services personnel statewide, including nearly 3,200 who work in Palm Beach and Martin counties under the union’s fourth district.

“We believe you will honorably serve the citizens of Florida, and the interests of the men and women employed in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services, who have made the protection of life and property their life’s work,” Bernoska said.

Confirmation of Tendrich’s endorsements by the AFL-CIO appears on the group’s website.

The editorial board of La Guia News, self-described as “the leading Spanish newspaper in Palm Beach County,” also penned a letter informing Tendrich of its support.

“Our endorsement is offered because of your unwavering commitment to the needs of the community, initiatives to ensure our residents’ voices are heard, and improve communication between Tallahassee and our neighbors,” the letter said. “We look forward to the policies you will fully develop and bring forward to engage all our community in the voting process.”

Tendrich said in a statement that she is “deeply honored and incredibly grateful” to receive the new endorsements, which join others from the Palm Beach Police Benevolent Association and Professional Firefighters/Paramedics of Palm Beach Local 2928.

She also enjoys support from many retired public school teachers and close to 40 current and former elected officials at the federal, state and local levels.

“These endorsements fuel my passion for advocating tirelessly for workers’ rights, public safety, and the transformation of our education system,” Tendrich said in a statement. “I will fight relentlessly to ensure that unions thrive, teachers are valued, our children have access to optimum opportunities and resources needed to excel, and our communities are safe and prosperous.”

Tendrich, the founder and leader of the Eat Better Live Better nonprofit, is set to face lawyer Destinie Baker Sutton in a Democratic Primary. The winner will take on Republican private school administrator Daniel Zapata, whom the district’s now term-limited Democratic Representative, David Silvers, defeated by less than 5 points in 2022.

Lately a toss-up district, HD 89 stretches east from Greenacres to Lake Worth Beach, north from Atlantis to Cloud Lake and contains Lake Clarke Shores and Palm Springs.

Its noteworthy landmarks include the Atlantis Country Club, Palm Beach County Park Airport, Palm Beach State College West Palm Beach Golf Course and the Trump International Golf Club.

The Primary is on Aug. 20, followed by the General Election on Nov. 5.

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.

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