TAMPA — Charlie Crist opened a new field office in Tampa on Saturday, giving the bay area its first look at Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, the South Florida businesswoman he announced as his running mate for governor.
Volunteers and supporters crowded outside the new office on W Waters Avenue to hear from Crist and Taddeo-Goldstein, who also is chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.
"I am so, so proud to be a part of the people's ticket," Taddeo-Goldstein said. "I cannot wait until we get rid of Rick Scott. We are going to bring all of our voices to Tallahassee."
Crist selected Taddeo-Goldstein, 47, as his running mate Thursday. He told the supporters at the field office it was because of her heart.
"People ask me this all the time, was it because she's a woman, because she's Hispanic, because she's a businessperson, a working mom?" Crist said. "We need someone in the governor's office and the lieutenant governor's office to have a heart again."
Taddeo-Goldstein told supporters she has lived the American dream, but it hasn't been easy the last few years, she said.
"I got there the hard way," she said. "I've earned my success."
She owns the small translation services business LanguageSpeak. As a business owner, she has sometimes wondered how she would meet payroll and the way it would affect her employees and their families, she said.
"I also have lived on the minimum wage, and we want to raise minimum wage," she said. "I know what it's like to count your pennies."
Republicans attacked the stop as a political stunt.
"It's ironic that Charlie Crist is getting around to opening offices, because while he was governor the only thing he did was close the doors of over 28,000 small businesses," Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said in a statement.
Taddeo-Goldstein told the Tampa crowd about the leave of absence she took from work to help on Barack Obama's re-election campaign in 2012, knocking on doors just like the volunteers at the field office Saturday, she said.
"I know how important all of you are," she said. "We have to do it just as hard as we did it in 2012, because this is just as important."
Crist faces former Democratic state Sen. Nan Rich in the Aug. 26 Democratic primary.
Contact Keeley Sheehan at email@example.com or (813) 226-3368. Follow @keeleymsheehan.