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The state’s teachers union announced Friday it is endorsing Democrat Gwen Graham in the race for governor.  The Florida Education Association calls Graham’s endorsement an “easy choice.”

“She is the public education dream candidate,” said FEA President Joanne McCall. “Gwen is against the charter school industry and the privatization of public education. She intends to end high-stakes testing and to abolish the school grading system that has done so much harm to public schools. She supports increasing salaries for teachers and education staff professionals, and wants to ensure that lottery money actually goes toward educational enhancements.”

The FEA cites Graham’s long involvement in public schools as one of the reasons the union chose to endorse her. Her three children went to public schools and she served as a PTA president. As an attorney, she served in the administration of the Leon County school system.

She ran for Congress where she served in the House of Representatives from 2015-2017. She chose to leave after her congressional district was redrawn and became firmly Republican.

Graham has made public education a key focus of her campaign, launching her campaign during one of her workdays at Miami Carol City Senior High Schools last year.

“I have heard from countless educators, students and parents ready for a change in Tallahassee,” Graham said in receiving FEA’s endorsement. “Earning the support of Florida’s teachers and school support professionals means the world to me. When I am governor, they will finally have a voice in the Governor’s Office. Together, we will end high-stakes testing, increase educators’ salaries, and restore our promise to Florida’s public schools.”

McCall sent letters Thursday night to the FEA’s 140,000 members announcing the endorsement of Graham. The FEA is the state’s largest association of professional employees.

Graham won the endorsement over her fellow Democrats in the race: Philip Levine, Andrew Gillum, Chris King and Jeff Greene, as well as Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis on the Republican side.

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