Karla Hernandez-Mats Compares Experience as ‘Sp-Ed’ Teacher to ‘Dysfunctional Legislature’: ‘My Major Was Emotionally Handicapped Education’

By Lydia Nusbaum, Florida's Voice

September 16, 2022 Updated 10:54 AM ET

"This Week in South Florida: Karla Hernandez-Mats," Local10.com, WPLG.

CAPE CORAL (FLV) – Fox News reported a video of Democrat candidate for governor Charlie Crist’s running mate, Karla Hernandez-Mats, saying her experience as a “sp-ed” teacher “qualifies” her “to deal with the dysfunctional legislature” if elected Florida’s next lieutenant governor.

Hernandez-Mats reportedly made the comment at a campaign event in Cape Coral Tuesday.

“I’m a teacher, I am a sp-ed teacher, so my major was emotionally-handicapped education, okay? That by itself qualifies me to deal with the dysfunctional legislature,” Hernandez-Mats said, leading the audience to laugh and applaud.

Republicans currently make up the majority of Florida’s state legislature.

“Just wow. Sounds like she resented her students,” the DeSantis campaign said on Twitter. The Crist campaign has not yet replied to Florida’s Voice’s request for comment.

Crist’s running mate worked as a teacher for special needs children at Hialeah Middle School. Hernandez-Mats is the president of the United Teachers of Dade, which is the largest teachers union in the southeastern United States.

Crist picked Hernandez-Mats to be his running mate at the end of August. During an interview on The View, he said her experience as a special ed teacher “hit my heart.”

“She wasn’t just a teacher, but a special ed teacher. And it showed me her heart and her compassion and care about young people who need help. Need extra help. And that really sold me on the deal,” Crist said.

His statement about Hernandez-Mats’ experience as a teacher was in response to a question from Ana Navarro on The View. Navarro grilled the Democrat for Hernandez-Mats’ “somewhat of a Castro-sympathizing” comment.

‘Did You Vet Her?’: The View Host Grills Charlie Crist on Lt. Gov. Pick After ‘Castro-Sympathizing’ Tweet

Hernandez-Mats has been criticized for a 2016 tweet where she said “many in Cuba mourn #FidelCastro.”

Hernandez-Mats deleted the tweet on Sep. 5 earlier in the day, more than a week after initial reports. Just hours later, she compared Gov. Ron DeSantis to Castro in a tweet that afternoon. She then addressed the now-deleted controversial tweet and said she was referring to Cubans being “forced to mourn the death of a tyrant.”

Another tweet from Hernandez-Mats depicted residents and parents at school board meetings as violent and armed characters. She Tweeted a picture of various famous horror characters in costumes with chainsaws and blades saying they are “going to a school board meeting.”

The tweet is from Oct. 21, 2021 with the hashtag “antivaxxers.”

“For any of you following the school board meetings, you know that the craziness is real,” Mats said. “God be with us.”

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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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