U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy has won the endorsement of some of the most powerful unions in Florida — the teachers’ unions — for his run for Florida’s open U.S. Senate seat.

The Florida Education Association, National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers all are supporting Murphy’s Democratic run, FEA President Joanne McCall announced at a Murphy news conference in Palm Beach County Monday.

With 140,000 members, the FEA has traditionally been a powerful ally for Democratic candidates, providing large sums of campaign money, strong organizational support, volunteers and the notion that the candidate is good for public education.

“Patrick Murphy is one of our hardest working advocates for education in Congress.,” McCall said. “That’s why we urged our national affiliates, the National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers, to come out and support Patrick’s candidacy for the United States Senate.”

“We know we can trust him as he moves from Congress to the United States Senate,” she added.

Murphy, of Jupiter, faces U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando and Palm Beach Gardens lawyer Pam Keith in the Democratic primary race.

Murphy used the occasion to lay out the basics of his education platform, his belief that public education is critical to rebuilding the middle class, and his concern that public education has been under siege for years.

He called for “fully funding public education,” and giving teachers “the raise that they deserve.” He derided that teachers need to “teach to the test.” He also called for support for universal prekindergarten, and fully funding Title I, Head Start and other early education programs. He also called for refinancing student loan debt, and a move toward debt-free higher education.

“There is no better return on investment than our investments in education,” he said.

He said the differences in quality of education from one district to another and one school to another is a grave problem that must be addressed.

“As you go from school to school you can see big differences. It’s unacceptable in this country, that these differences exist. So we’ve got to do more to rebuild that public school system,” Murphy said.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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