Broward Teachers Union endorses Moskowitz for open congressional seat

Anthony Man | Sun Sentinel

The Broward Teachers Union, one of the largest labor unions in Florida, is endorsing Jared Moskowitz in the contested Democratic primary for an open South Florida congressional seat.

Moskowitz and the union are announcing the endorsement on Monday.

BTU President Anna Fusco said the organization is supporting Moskowitz, one of several Democrats running in the Broward-Palm Beach County 23rd District, “because of his lifelong commitment to teachers, students, schools, and families,” adding in a written statement that “Jared will be the advocate that teachers and schools need in Washington.”

BTU’s endorsement is prized by candidates. It represents more than 11,500 teachers and other school district employees. The union has experience mobilizing voters in August, the month the Democratic congressional primary will take place. On the same day as the primary, Aug. 23, issues directly affecting teachers will also be decided: School Board elections and, this year, a referendum to increase school property taxes in Broward.

Fusco cited Moskowitz’s former role as Florida’s director of emergency management, which he held for more than two years, including the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. “His work ensured that teachers had access to masks, testing, and vaccines and that schools maintained important safety policies.”

Moskowitz, 41, who graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was a state representative at the time of the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at the school.

His emotional floor speech in the state House of Representatives helped win passage of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which raised the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21, created a statewide waiting period for long-gun sales and made it easier for law enforcement to seize weapons from people suspected of being dangerous. The measure also included provisions to enhance school safety and improve mental health services for students.

“Jared was an active presence in helping our community through the crisis as he prioritized the safety of our entire learning community,” Fusco said.

His work on the legislation also earned him an F-minus rating from the National Rifle Association — a grade Moskowitz has said meant he was doing the right thing.

Moskowitz, currently a member of the Broward County Commission and a former Parkland city commissioner, is running for the Democratic nomination for an open congressional seat with no incumbent.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Broward-Palm Beach County Democrat, isn’t running for re-election. On Oct. 1, Deutch becomes CEO of the American Jewish Committee.

Moskowitz has been rolling out endorsements at a rapid pace — more than 80 current and former elected officials so far — since entering the race in early March. The teachers union is the first organization to announce an endorsement.

Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Ben SorensenHava Holzhauer, a former Florida director of the Anti-Defamation League, and airline pilot Curtis Calabrese are also seeking the Democratic nomination.

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