Charlie Crist taps teacher union leader Karla Hernández-Mats as running mate

by | Aug 29, 2022

  • Democrat gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist on Saturday chose Karla Hernández-Mats as his running mate
  • Hernández-Mats, who has never served as a public official, has led the teacher’s union since 2016 and worked as an educator for ten years prior to that
  •  Hernández-Mats immediately contrasted herself with Gov. Ron DeSantis on issues including abortion and education

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist on Saturday selected teachers’ union chief Karla Hernández-Mats as his running mate ahead of his November election against incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Though Hernández-Mats has never held public office, she has served as the teacher’s union chief for six years, representing more than 30,000 employees of the Miami-Dade County School System, the largest labor union in the Southeast United States.

In early media appearances, Hernández-Mats wasted no time in positioning herself opposite that of DeSantis across a variety of hot-topic issues, including school regulations and abortion.

“If you care about freedoms, and you care about women’s freedom to choose to have autonomy over their body, I need you to vote,” Hernandez-Mats said. “If you care about protecting people’s freedoms and making sure that they have access to vote, I need you to take a friend to go out and vote. We are here because also on the ballot is our opportunity to bring sunshine back into the state.”

Crist’s campaign has placed a laser focus on education this election cycle, making public announcements to denote the release of his education platform, nominally referred to as the ‘Freedom to Learn’ initiative. Within the agenda exists an outline that demarcates steps Crist will take in contrast to the measures passed by DeSantis earlier this year.

The plan states that Crist aims to “improve classroom experiences for teachers, parents, and students,” should he win election.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Hernández-Mats was a vocal critic of DeSantis and his COVID-19 policies, including the reopening of schools and masking.

“[Karla’s] story is a Florida story,” said Crist. “As a first-generation American who dedicated her life to service, she became a Miami-Dade public school teacher a fierce defender of working Floridians reproductive freedom.”

Republican leaders quickly vocalized dissatisfaction with Hernandez, called her an “extremist” and “a slap in the face to Florida parents.”

The party also attacked Hernández-Mats’ COVID-19 stances, tweeting that she was in favor of school closures, forced masks, and accused her of wanting to “brainwash Florida kids.”

In an attack online, the GOP called Hernández-Mats “the perfect fit for lockdown lover Crist’s controversial, anti-parents campaign” by the Republican National Committee.


  1. Deborah Coffey

    Now, do we think the parents of all the kids that died from Covid when they went back to school in 2021, forbidden to wear masks, will be voting for Ron DeSantis? Is sending kids to their deaths now parental rights and freedom to today’s GOP? Guess so!

    • TG

      Excuse me while I call BS!
      The governor did away with MANDATORY mask use. if you wanted to voluntarily wear one you could. While on the topic there is no scientific research to support masks filtering a virus which is measured in micron, current face masks (even N95) filter particulates. Follow the science not the BS spread unless you’re a mushroom.
      Regarding Roe vs Wade that’s about government over reach not abortion, they (Supreme Court) also ruled on gun control, and border policies. To think a misinformed person like you actually votes really pisses me off. Get and education, learn to think critically you’re being sold a bill of false gods.

  2. dolphincritic

    Well, let’s see – identity politics she is Hispanic female – union support she is a public employee boss – Dade County big population
    She is a Progressive Democrat who wants to indoctrinate your children to the benefits of socialism and conformity to public opinion. Critical thinking is a bad word. Our kids are getting dumber, and the tax costs are going upward. She is more qualified than the loser Christ but that is NO endorsement!
    Let’s put DeSantis back in office and maybe he will clean up the educational system during his next term.

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