Aug 29, 2022 - News

Charlie Crist taps Miami teacher union president as running mate

Charlie Crist holds Karla Hernandez-Mats' hand in the air.
Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist with his running mate, Karla Hernández-Mats. Photo: Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist has chosen Karla Hernández-Mats, president of the United Teachers of Dade (UTD) union, as his running mate in his gubernatorial bid.

What they're saying: Crist called Hernández-Mats "caring, loving, empathic, compassionate," in his announcement Saturday at Hialeah Middle School, where Hernández-Mats taught for 10 years.

  • "That's what we don't have in the governor's office right now, and that's what you deserve to have in the governor's office," he said.

Hernández-Mats has blamed Republicans for many of the problems plaguing teachers.

  • She told CBS Miami in mid-August, "Teachers didn't go into this profession to be politicized. We're truth-tellers. We don't believe in banning books …We see all these different culture wars from Governor DeSantis and really extreme legislators in Tallahassee that are impacting our school system."

Between the lines: Crist's choice sets up a stark difference between himself and Gov. Ron DeSantis on education matters.

  • DeSantis' education agenda calls for ensuring "parental rights in education" and keeping "woke gender ideology out of schools."
  • By contrast, Crist — who was elected education commissioner of Florida in 2000 before he served as governor — has outlined education proposals including stopping the "unwarranted politicization of our classrooms and attacks on educators."

Go deeper into Hernández-Matz's background via Florida Politics.

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