Crist picks Miami teachers union leader as running mate

By ANTHONY IZAGUIRRE, Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Democrat Charlie Crist on Saturday named Miami-Dade County Teachers Union President Karla Hernandez-Mats as his running mate as he challenges Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida.

Crist, a congressman who served as the state’s Republican governor a decade ago, announced United Teachers of Dade President Hernandez-Mats as his pick at a rally in Miami.

Hernandez-Mats’ selection ensures a Crist campaign focused on education, an arena where DeSantis has had considerable success in animating his conservative base through his hands-off approach to the coronavirus pandemic and limiting policies. class discussions on race and LGBTQ issues.

Hernandez-Mats advocated delaying students’ return to school until fall 2020 and continuing with mask mandates in 2021, in defiance of the DeSantis administration.

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She is the daughter of two Honduran immigrants who arrived in the United States in the 1970s and was the first Hispanic to be elected to lead the United Teachers of Dade in 2016.

Crist secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination on Tuesday after defeating state agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried.

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