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New Putnam ad blames ‘liberal elites’ for college debt, pushes vocational training

'College is not the only path to success,' Putnam says.

Building on a message he rolled out this week, Republican Adam Putnam released a new ad Thursday that promotes his plan to expand vocational training for post-high school graduates.

It's also a continuation of Putnam's attack on so-called "liberal elites," who this time he blames for pushing students into college debt and degrees that don't lead to jobs.

"Liberal elites look down on people who work with their hands," Putnam said.

"College is not the only path to success, and it's okay to say it," he adds.

The ad was paid for by Florida Grown, Putnam's political committee. His campaign would not discuss the details of the ad buy.

Vocational training for trade jobs is the cornerstone of the "Florida Jobs First" agenda Putnam introduced Monday in Riverview.

Under that plan, Putnam proposes the state create a standardized course numbering system so credits earned for completing classes are transferable from high school to any community colleges, technical schools or the state university system.

He also suggested more hands-on classwork for high school students that can serve as "credit" toward earning advanced technical degrees, much like students can take advanced placement classes toward a college a degree, and greater focus on 21st century skills like coding, robotics and advanced manufacturing.

Putnam is the state agriculture commissioner. He is running in a primary against Rep. Ron DeSantis, who has not rolled out any similar policy proposals so far this campaign.