Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, who won the Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary earlier this week, is expected to announce on Saturday that he has selected teachers union president Karla Hernandez-Mats as his running mate, according to reports.
Hernandez-Mats is the president of the United Teachers of Dade, a left-wing teachers union that has been openly supportive of the Biden administration’s recently announced plan to cancel massive amounts of federal student loan debt. A post on the union’s Facebook page says the “White House announcement is encouraging as we look to the future of education!”
The union has also expressed pro-choice views and opposed a commonsense law in Florida that contains a provision to prohibit teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
“As this malicious and cynical piece of legislation goes into effect today, it is important to remember that none of the educators in the state of Florida have ever taught about sexual orientation to any child in grades K-3,” Hernandez-Mats wrote in a statement earlier this year, according to WSVN. “This law is gay baiting, pure and simple. The intent of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law is clear: it is a focused attack on teachers and students who are LGBTQ.”
The text of the Florida law reads, “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Crist will face-off against incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis during the upcoming general election contest. But on the heels of his primary victory earlier this week, Crist declared that he does not want the votes of DeSantis supporters. “Those who support the governor should stay with him and vote for him,” Crist said, adding emphatically, “I don’t want your vote.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is currently seeking re-election in the Golden State, has pledged a whopping $100,000 to back Crist’s election bid.
Crist previously served as the governor of Florida from early 2007 until early 2011. But after being elected to the job as a Republican, he lost a U.S. Senate race in 2010 while running an independent. He ran as a Democrat in Florida’s 2014 gubernatorial contest but lost that election too. He has been serving in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2017.