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Charlie Crist

Charlie Crist

Since his inauguration as Florida’s 44th Governor on January 2, 2007, Charlie Crist has worked to lower the cost of doing business and living in Florida, increase people’s access to government, strengthen Florida’s economy and ensure the safety and world-class education of Florida’s children. Upon taking his oath as Governor, Governor Crist immediately established the Office of Open Government by Executive Order, in order to make government more accessible to the people it serves. Governor Crist also continues to address high property taxes and property insurance costs and works with both Democrats and Republicans in the Florida Legislature to work toward finding solutions to both issues.Governor Crist is proud of the robust accomplishments of his administration in less than three short years – the largest tax cut in Florida history, the unanimously passed Cover Florida Health Care plan that provides access to affordable health care for thousands of uninsured Floridians, the Anti-Murder Act that has placed 96 probation violators behind bars, Operation Orange Tree to capture the monsters who prey on our children, our record 10,000 foster children adopted into loving permanent families, and the daily effort to maintain a level of fiscal responsibility in state spending that honors Florida’s hard-working tax payers.The Governor’s Explore Adoption initiative is increasing awareness about adopting teens, siblings groups and children with special needs from state foster care, resulting in back-to-back years of record-setting numbers of adoptions into permanent, loving families. Governor Crist is committed to ensuring the children of Florida have the resources and opportunities to realize their full potential. The Governor established the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness to educate and encourage Florida students about leading a healthy and active lifestyle. He also created the Children and Youth Cabinet and appointed a Chief Child Advocate to streamline the adoption process in Florida.Governor Crist understands that Florida’s 1.9 million small businesses are the backbone of the Sunshine State’s economy. Research indicates that small businesses, which account for nearly 60 percent of new jobs created in Florida, have the highest potential for growth and new job creation. To better understand how government can provide opportunities to help small business grow and foster free competitive enterprise, Governor Crist convened the Florida Small Business Summit in November 2009 and continues to seek ways to get government out of the way and allow Florida’s small businesses to thrive in the ever changing global economy.Additional economic development achievements include biotech research and aviation and aerospace. Florida is one of the fastest growing biotech centers and is home to more than nine percent of nation’s 1,450 biotech firms. Under Governor Crist’s leadership, the following are among the companies to join Florida’s life sciences industry: the Max Planck Institute of Bio-Imaging on the campus of Florida Atlantic University; VGTI Florida in Port St. Lucie; the Miami Institute of Human Genomics; Draper Laboratory Inc. in Tampa and St. Petersburg; Biopsy Sciences in Pinellas County; the opening of Scripps Florida in Jupiter. In Cape Canaveral, the U.S. Air Force is leasing to Space Florida what will become Launch Complex 36, a launch pad that will accommodate light-to-medium lift vertical launches supporting commercial, civil and military capabilities.Governor Charlie Crist was born in 1956 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, but his family soon settled in St. Petersburg. As a public school student Governor Crist quickly learned the value of participation, leading him to serve as class president at St. Petersburg High School and, later, as student body vice president at Florida State University. In high school Governor Crist was the starting quarterback for his football team. He later played football at Wake Forest University before transferring and receiving his undergraduate degree from Florida State in 1978. Governor Crist then earned his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama.Governor Crist received invaluable experience in Florida’s criminal justice system while interning in the State Attorney’s Office before accepting a position as general counsel for the minor league division of the Baseball Commissioner’s Office. Governor Crist began his government service as state director for former U.S. Senator Connie Mack before later returning to the private practice of law with the Tampa firm of Wood and Crist.In 1992, Governor Crist won a seat in the Florida Senate. For six years in the Senate, Governor Crist served as Chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and as Chairman of the Appropriations Criminal Justice Subcommittee. A strong voice for public safety, he sponsored, among other legislation, the Stop Turning Out Prisoners (STOP) bill requiring prisoners to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences. This earned him numerous honors, including appointment as an Honorary Sheriff by the Florida Sheriffs Association—only the third person to receive the honor in the organization’s long history.After Governor Crist completed his Senate service, Governor Jeb Bush appointed him as Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. In 2000, Governor Crist won a special election and became Florida’s last elected Commissioner of Education. Governor Crist’s path of public service next led him to seek election as Attorney General in 2002. He carried the general election by more than one-third of a million votes to become Florida’s first elected Republican Attorney General. On November 7, 2006, Governor Charlie Crist was elected to serve as Florida’s Governor. Governor Crist is a lifelong member of the St. Petersburg Chapter of the NAACP.Governor Crist and his wife Carole have been married since December 12, 2008. They were married in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida.