Charlie Crist isn’t officially a Democratic candidate for governor — yet.
But the former Republican governor spoke to Hillsborough County Democrats Saturday night. He addressed two issues during his brief speech: The hug — his 2009 embrace of President Barack Obama in Fort Myers — and education.
Crist made it clear both K-12 and higher education would be front and center if he runs. Teachers would not forget that Gov. Rick Scott came into office cutting education, Crist said, despite Scott’s support for teacher raises this year.
From his speech:
There’s just a couple of issues I want to share and talk with you about, and it starts with education. It starts with education because education is our most important civil right. It really is.
If we don’t fight for our public school teachers, if we don’t fight for our universities…then we’ve lost our way.
Now we have a governor that came into office and one of the first things he did was cut $1.4 billion dollars from education. And then he thinks that, you know this past session, you give a bonus to teachers — I’ve got news for him: Teachers are smart and cannot be bought.
Later, Crist closed his speech with a call for teamwork:
Like I said, it’s not about any one individual. It’s about all of us.
It’s about teachers. It’s about firefighters. It’s about law enforcement officers. It’s about blacks. It’s about whites. It’s about gay. It’s about straight. It’s about wherever you came from, you’re welcome in this party…this is the people’s party. This is what Florida wants.
Crist’s speech was short, but he got a good reception from Hillsborough County Democrats.
The Palm Beach Post had more in Sunday’s paper about the politics of Scott’s push for teacher raises.