Charlie Crist Unveils Opening Day Agenda Focused on State Employees

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: July 30, 2014 3:55 AM
Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist

On Tuesday, former Gov. Charlie Crist, the leading candidate in next month’s Democratic primary to see who will challenge Gov. Rick Scott in November, unveiled five executive orders he would sign in his first day back in Tallahassee. But Crist’s opening day agenda, which is focused on state employees, quickly drew fire from Florida Republicans. 

“The office of the governor has authority to take immediate steps to ensure the government of Florida is working for everyone,” Crist insisted on Tuesday. “That's why I intend to make Jan. 6th, 2015, the First Day of Fairness. I'll sign five executive orders that will make Florida a better place for all -- not just those at the top."

Crist promised to “reverse Rick Scott's closed records policies," follow a page from President Barack Obama’s gamebook by raising the minimum wage to "$10.10 for all contractors doing business with state agencies that report to the governor's office, send more state contracts to Florida businesses, support equal pay for women for state contractors" and “prohibit any form of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity within the state agencies or its contractors.”

Despite having spent most of his political life as a Republican, including three statewide offices, Crist is a heavy favorite over former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich in next month’s primary.

Scott’s campaign pushed back against the new Democrat on Tuesday, reminding voters that the state unemployment rate rocketed up during Crist’s time in Tallahassee and comparing him to Obama.

"Charlie Crist thinks he can win this election by doing his best Barack Obama impersonation – all talk and no action,” said Florida Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine. “And it’s telling that his new proposal includes no plans for job creation or education. Crist’s record speaks louder than any of his words: billions in tax hikes and double-digit tuition increases – as Florida was losing 832,000 jobs and 28,000 small businesses – was anything but ‘fair’ to the middle class.”

Even though Crist was the Republican nominee four times at the state level in his decades with the GOP, polls show the new Democrat is not making inroads with Scott’s base. Earlier this year, Crist released a memoir explaining why he left the GOP to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 with no party affiliation before shifting over to the Democrats after the presidential election in 2012, in which he claimed in the subtitle that the “extreme right hijacked the GOP.”

Despite that, Crist promised on Tuesday to work with Republicans if elected.

“I'll work with both parties to fight for our schools, expand health care, and invest in the middle class,” Crist insisted on Tuesday. 

Thrasher joined up with the state legislative leadership Tuesday to weigh in against Crist’s proposal to use executive orders and, once again, compared the former governor to Obama. Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Destin, incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and incoming House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, joined Thrasher in issuing a joint statement.

“Charlie Crist says he is a ‘man of the people’ but his actions don’t match his rhetoric,” the legislators said. “Crist is lifting a dangerous page from President Obama’s playbook, saying he will do an end-run around the people’s elected representatives and single-handedly mandate policies through executive order. Such declarations should give Floridians great concern.

“Charlie Crist is not above the constitution and the law,” the legislators added. “Florida needs a governor who will work with the Legislature and not force his personal agenda on Floridians with the stroke of a pen.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (7)

Paul Cajka Sr
1:27PM JUL 30TH 2014
Maybe Charlie figures this catering to state employees will help him in a low turnout election, as will Amendment 2. Count on Charlie to have lots of munchies at rallies for the pro-Amendment 2 voters.
6:19PM JUL 30TH 2014
And who would better know the merits and faults of their current Governor . . . . . . . . state employees will NOT be voting to retain this Governor . . . . except for the few partisan appointments that have attempted to tear down government . . . . and in so doing alienated state workers, scientists, university employees, public school teachers, and minorities . . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
11:36AM JUL 30TH 2014
Takes a lot of courage to follow Obama's lead by issuing "executive orders" when law makers refuse to act.
6:14PM JUL 30TH 2014
Yes, yes, Diane must be right . . . . . . . after all, it's not like her idol, Rick Scott, issued 260 Executive Orders in 2011; 283 in 2012; 370 in 2013; and as of 5/12/2014, 164 in 2014. . . . . . . that's a total of 1,077 Executive Orders in roughly 3 and a half years in office . . . . . .

So, yes, Charlie Crist proposing 5 Executive Orders is an obvious usurping of legislative power by a potential Governor . . . shameful conduct, correct . . . . . at least to un-educated, political right wing demonizing, know-nothing, hypocrites . . . . . . absolutely . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Kathleen McCook
7:00AM JUL 30TH 2014
NAN RICH is running in the Democratic primary. Crist must win the primary before he can imagine the general's outcome. One way he can do this is to show respect for her lifetime Democratic credentials and debate her so those of us who vote in the primary can have a basis for decision-making.
11:31AM JUL 30TH 2014
Nan is so low in the polls she doesn't have a snowball's chance in Florida of beating Scott. But she is doing a darn good job of bringing down Crist's numbers by her negative, NEGATIVE ads. I guess she will be happy if at least she helps Scott beat Crist. Maybe if she had been more 'professional' , campaigning on her own merits vice trashing Crist, he would debate her. But she doesn't deserve his time.
6:21PM JUL 30TH 2014
Yes, clearly you're a Charlie Crist supporter . . . . just like Nancy Smith will vote for Nan Rich (i.e. just see her columns, that's the faux spin you frequently take away from SSN) . . . . . .

Oh, and where are the primary debates between Rick Scott and his primary challengers . . . . . . oh, that's right . . . . . forgotten in partisan GOP demonization hypocrisy and politics . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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