Sierra Club of FL endorses Crist for governor in 2022

Organization pledges support to oust DeSantis for environmental failures

By: - June 6, 2022 5:10 pm

North Florida beaches including this one at Grayton Beach State Park were among those threatened by the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill that polluted the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Credit: Florida State Parks

Sierra Club of Florida endorsed U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist Monday in the race to represent Florida Democrats in this fall’s gubernatorial race against incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Sierra, claiming 32,000 members and roughly 240,000 supporters in its environmental advocacy and legal-defense organization, praised Crist’s overall environmental record as governor 2007-2011 and in Congress since 2017 and pledged to mobilize its troops to help oust DeSantis.

Charlie Crist
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg, FL. Credit: U.S. House photo

“As a congressman, Charlie Crist has secured funding for the Everglades, helped secure a ban on offshore drilling, and has called for tighter regulations to help provide clean water to Floridians. As governor, he helped lead the fight against the climate crisis, and set ambitious goals [in his first year of office, with legislative support, since reversed] to curtail greenhouse gas emissions,” Sierra wrote in announcing its endorsement.

Sierra has long challenged DeSantis to live up to his environmental promises, issuing him a D grade in its 2019 environmental report card and a D- for 2020.

“It’s no secret that this election cycle will have deep repercussions for Florida’s communities, economy, and environment. We believe that Charlie Crist is the only candidate in this race that can defeat Ron DeSantis, take action to protect our environment and confront the ongoing climate crisis,” said Luigi Guadarrama, political Director of Sierra Club Florida. “Through the course of this process, we consistently heard from people that Charlie Crist was the only candidate that met with them and their communities, and we believe that he’ll take that with him to Tallahassee.”

In accepting Sierra’s endorsement, Crist stated, “Our Everglades, our beaches, our water, and our way of life are all on the line this November. We can’t continue sitting on the side lines when it comes to tackling existential environmental challenges like the climate crisis.”

Crist, formerly a Commissioner of Education in Florida, also got the backing of the statewide Florida Education Association, announced on May 31.

He is considered the frontrunner so far in the Democratic primary race that also features Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried and, until Monday, included state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who represents Miami-Dade.

Crist switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in 2012, after serving as Education Commissioner from 2001-03 and as Attorney General in 2003-07. He also served as a Republican in the state Senate from 1992-98, according to Ballotpedia.

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Laura Cassels
Laura Cassels

Laura Cassels is a reporter, former statehouse bureau chief, and former city editor. She is a classical pianist, a Florida State University graduate and proud alum of the Florida Flambeau, an independent college newspaper.