Crist says consider drilling and we have not cut education listen10/28/09 SeÃ¡n Kinane
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Today in Jacksonville, Governor Charlie Crist visited troops and toured the Wounded Warrior Projectâ€™s TRACK Center. In letters to Floridaâ€™s U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and George LeMieux, Cristâ€™s former Chief of Staff, the Governor asked them to support federal legislation to enhance health care for veterans.
Crist was asked about the possibility that the Florida Legislature will reverse the stateâ€™s ban on drilling for fossil fuels off the coasts.
Crist: "Well, I think we need to be open minded about it. I think energy is an incredibly important issue, not only to Florida, but to America. I want to protect our beaches as much as anybody does, but by the same token I want to make sure that we have energy independence too. So I look forward to the discussion ahead and think it will be productive for all of us to tune in."
A Quinnipiac University poll released a week ago, found that Cristâ€™s lead over former State House Speaker Marco Rubio in next yearâ€™s Republican U.S. Senate primary had been cut in half. In Jacksonville, Crist told Florida Public Radio reporter Steve Brown he is not worried about his lead diminishing.
Crist: â€œIâ€™m glad to be in the lead.â€
Even though Florida had to ask for a waiver to be eligible for some federal funding because of a requirement that states accepting stimulus funds should not lower education spending below 2006 levels, Crist claimed that the stateâ€™s education funding had not been reduced.
Crist: â€œWe havenâ€™t cut education in Florida; fortunately, we have been able to sustain the funding for education. I'm very proud of what we've been able to do as it relates to education in our state. We've gone from 31st out of 50 states to number 14th in America last year, and this year in the top 10 for the first time, I think, in recorded history. So Florida is on the right track, especially in the area of education; very pleased for our students, and very grateful to our teachers and the parents who work so hard. In addition, Florida provides an awful lot of choice in education; I mean, obviously, we have public education, we have private education, we have homeschooling and we have charter schools. So Florida is a place that believes in freedom and giving parents the opportunity to make those important decisions for their child.â€