DeSantis Campaign Pounces on Charlie Crist’s Pick for Lt. Gov.: ‘Mandates, Lockdowns, School Closures’

August 29, 2022 Updated 10:24 AM ET

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at a
Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at a "Unite & Win Rally" at Arizona Financial Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona (Gage Skidmore).

MIAMI (FLV) – The DeSantis campaign was quick to pounce on Charlie Crist’s running mate once the news broke Friday that he would choose Karla Hernandez-Mats to run as Lt. Governor.

“If you care and if you are worried about making sure that we save this state, that we are able to live with the freedoms that we deserve, then I need you to go out and vote,” Hernandez-Mats said in a speech Saturday.

Hernandez-Mats is the president of the United Teachers of Dade, which is the largest teachers union in the southeastern United States. She also is the vice president for the American Federation of Teachers.

The DeSantis War Room Twitter account, operated by the DeSantis campaign, compiled videos of parents concerned about mask mandates in schools.

“The health of my child is a risk assessment that belongs between my husband and I and our physicians, not the school board,” one parent said.

The campaign then cut to a video of Hernandez-Mats speaking at a meeting.

“This is a little known group that is not representative of our community,” Hernandez-Mats said in the video.

The campaign also posted a video of Hernandez-Mats speaking and criticized her take on lockdowns and mandates.

“We live in a civilized society where mandates exist and they’re part of the norm,” Hernandez-Mats said.

The DeSantis campaign pounced on Hernandez-Mats’ condemnation of a new program that recruits veterans and teachers into the classrooms. She said the program is is “deprofessionalizing” teacher careers.

“And to think that somebody that has four years of combat experience would do well in our schools, is actually very disrespectful to our, to our educators to our teachers, and not the way you support them,” Hernandez-Mats said.

Crist Running Mate Karla Hernandez-Mats Says Program Recruiting Vets is ‘Deprofessionalizing’ Teaching

Hernandez-Mats was a special needs teacher at Hialeah Middle School for 10 years where Crist made his announcement Saturday. The two candidates talked about providing abortion rights for women and seemed poised to center their campaign around education.

Hernandez-Mats did not want students to return to school in the fall of 2020 and supported mask mandates in 2021.

“We were able to mitigate the spread of COVID, because we did that, not because the governor was out her giving us resources,” she said. “As a matter of fact, he was trying to penalize us for doing that, so the reason that we opened and that we were successful and that we saved kids and that we gave parents the choice to decide whether they were going to be in person or virtual, that was us, baby, so we did that.”

The Florida Education Association applauded Crist’s running mate pick for Lt. Gov.

“By choosing Karla Hernandez-Mats, Charlie Crist makes clear that he is serious about strengthening public schools, addressing educator shortages and getting students the education they deserve,” the group said.

However, the Republican National Committee called the pick a “perfect fit” for an “anti-parents campaign.”

“Karla Hernández-Mats, the Randi Weingarten of Florida, is the perfect fit for lockdown lover Crist’s unpopular, anti-parents campaign,” RNC Spokeswoman Julia Friedland said.

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Florida’s Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.

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