FEA splits the baby in half- Florida's largest teacher's union endorses Kendrick Meek AND Charlie Crist

“Kendrick Meek has always been a strong backer of public education and our positions for as long as he’s been a public service. He has always supported our schools and its employees,” said FEA President Andy Ford. “We wouldn’t have the class size provisions in the Florida Constitution without Kendrick’s tireless work to get that on the ballot and to win its approval. We know Kendrick would be welcome addition to the U.S. Senate.

“Gov. Charlie Crist took bold action this year in bucking the leaders of his former political party and listening to the teachers and parents of Florida when he vetoed Senate Bill 6 and set the stage for a better Florida application in the federal Race to the Top grant,” Ford said. “S.B. 6 energized teachers and parents throughout the state and Crist’s actions showed so many Floridians that their voices count. We think an independent Charlie Crist working for Floridians would also be a great asset in the Senate.”

The FEA has over 140,000 members, and generally their endorsement would be significant.  But in this case, it's obviously more symbolic, as voters will not be able to split their decision in the voting booth this November.  But as the FEA's Ford says, both candidates have earned the endorsement - Meek with his championing of the 2002 class size amendment bill (which is on the ballot this fall to obviate its hard cap numbers scheduled to take effect later this summer),  and Crist for responding to the public protests and overwhelming e-mails that flooded into his office requesting that he veto SB 6, which of course he did.

The Florida Education Association is perhaps the state's most powerful public employee union, and they asserted themselves with a vengeance earlier this year when their members cajoled Governor Charlie Crist into vetoing Senate Bill 6, the John Thrasher led education reform bill that most of the education community in Florida opposed.

The FEA hailed Crist for doing so at the time, and today rewarded him with a co-endorsement for his bid for U.S. Senate.

At the same time however, the traditional Democratic party allied group co-endorsed the Democratic front running candidate, Miami area Congressman Kendrick Meek. 

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