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Bill Nelson touts education endorsements at Tampa event

The senior senator from Florida got the endorsements of the Florida Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson shakes the hand of U.S. Rep Kathy Castor at an education endorsement event in Tampa Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. Credit: Kirby Wilson, Tampa Bay Times
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson shakes the hand of U.S. Rep Kathy Castor at an education endorsement event in Tampa Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. Credit: Kirby Wilson, Tampa Bay Times
Published Aug. 8, 2018

Sen. Bill Nelson snagged two major education endorsements Wednesday.

The Florida Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers announced they are backing the Democrat in his 2018 re-election bid against Republican governor Rick Scott.

Hillsborough Classroom Teacher's Association President Rob Kriete, who introduced Nelson and announced the FEA's endorsement, said Nelson "has been a steadfast believer in investing in our public schools."

For his part, Nelson said he was honored to accept the endorsements. After delivering brief remarks, the senator held a town hall-style discussion with the educators in attendance. Castor and state Sen. Darryl Rouson also participated in the discussion.

"We stand with Bill Nelson because he has been a steadfast supporter of our students, teachers, support staff and schools, and has fought for funding for programs to assist some of Florida's most vulnerable students," Florida Education Association President Joanne McCall said in a release the Nelson campaign posted after the event.

The Scott campaign tried to throw cold water on the endorsements in a release of its own, calling the event "political grandstanding" from an "all talk" politician.

And a smattering of Scott-supporting protesters gathered outside the Tampa event space with signs and chants like, "Drain the Swamp!"

This post will be updated.

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