Greek Cypriot American gubernatorial candidate in Florida enjoys a 16 point lead in the latest polls: Victory Smiles at Charlie Crist
GreekNewsOnline.com, October 20, 2006
New York.- Greek American Community in Florida has already started the preparations to celebrate one great victory in the upcoming November gubernatorial elections. Republican Attorney General Charlie Crist is leading the polls for governor by a wide margin over Democratic Congressman Jim Davis, to become the second governor of Greek origin in the United States. Latest polls give Crist (R) 54%, over Davis (D) 38%.
Cristʼs comfort zone extends beyond the polls to his bank account. The campaignʼs most recent financial disclosure statement shows more than $2.5 million cash-on-hand. Davisʼ coffers are a little lighter with approximately $560,000 in reserves.
Crist won his primary handily, defeating Tom Gallagher by a nearly 2-1 ratio in the Republican primary. Davisʼ victory was much tougher. He edged out State Senator Rod Smith 47% to 41% to take the Democratic nomination.
Charlie Crist is the second-oldest of four children. He was born on July 24, 1956, in Altoona, Pennsylvania he is half Greek Greek Cypriot. His mother, Nancy (Lee) is Scots-Irish. Charlie Crist went on to attend Wake Forest University, where he played quarterback, but received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University. Crist received his law degree degree from the Cumberland School of Law in Alabama.
The parents met at Penn State. Cristʼs mother quit college after two years and his father got his degree and decided to become a doctor.
The original family name was Christodoulos, which would not fit easily on a bumper sticker. Cristʼs father legally shortened the name in 1949, dropping the “h” in the process.
Cristʼs paternal grandfather, Adam, emigrated from Cyprus to America around 1912. Unable to speak English, he wore his address pinned to his lapel when he arrived. He shined shoes for $5 a month.
After serving in the Army in World War I, he settled in the railroad town of Altoona, Pa., and opened a shoeshine parlor. A Republican, he passed his political lineage on to his son, who did the same with his own son.
“Back then, most immigrants were Democrats. They all loved Roosevelt,” Cristʼs father said. “My father would say, 'Iʼm a businessman.ʼ”
Charlie Crist likes to tell voters about his grandfather who lived to be 96, especially when the topic turns to immigration.
“Heʼs right here in my heart,” Crist told a Cuban-American crowd in Miami, patting his chest. “Itʼs important that I believe that Adam can see this day.”
When Crist was 6 weeks old, the family packed up and left Altoona after his father was accepted at medical school at Emory University.
“He cried all the way to Atlanta,” Nancy Crist said of her only son.
The young doctor got a job in 1960 at what is now Bayfront Medical Center, and the Crists were on the move again — to St. Petersburg. Two more daughters, Elizabeth and Catherine, would soon join Crist and his older sister, Margaret.
With four young children and a fledgling medical practice, Dr. Crist said, “We ate a lot of peanut-butter sandwiches.”
Charlie Crist keeps strong ties with the Greek American Community in Florida. He attends regularly the Greek Parade in Tarpon Springs, as well as events of the Pancyprian Association of Florida.
During his failed 1998 bid for the US Senate seat, in one of the many fundraisers held for him by Cypriot Community of New York, he expressed his strong support for a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem, calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish Troops and the end of the illegal occupation.
THS ROAD TO SUCCESS
Crist entered state politics representing parts of St. Petersburg in the Florida Senate, where he became best known for his support of chain gangs for state prison inmates, earning him the nickname "Chain Gang Charlie." He became well-known in state politics in 1998, when after nearly six years in the Senate he challenged popular incumbent Democrat Bob Graham for his U.S. Senate seat but lost by 26 percent.
In 1999, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Crist to the position of Deputy Secretary of the Deparment of Business and Professional Regulation. He then ran for and was elected to the office of Education Commissioner of Florida in the November 2000 election, in which capacity he served from 2001 until 2003, when the office was eliminated in accordance with a 1998 constitutional amendment, and all responsibilites turned over to the appointed Secretary of Education.
Crist had by that time already won the attorney general's position.
During his time in office, Crist has been applauded by civil rights and consumer groups for expanding the powers of the Attorney General during his time in office to prosecute civil rights and fraud cases. He has also received acclaim for his work to combat SPAM emails, freeze utility rates, end telecom deception, and protect the environment.
Some activists who had pushed for government intervention in the Terri Schiavo case strongly criticized Crist when he did not attempt further legal action to keep Schiavo alive, or use his powers to investigate her missing Department of Children and Families file.
America's Most Wanted host John Walsh has supported Crist's candidacy, publicly filing Crist's gubernatorial candidacy paperwork, citing his work with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. John Walsh also appears in Crist's "anti-murder" campaign advertisements.
According to his campaign website and public pronouncements, Crist would take the following positions as governor:
* Abortion: Stated he would sign a South Dakota type abortion ban so long as it provided exceptions for rape and incest victims.
* Adoption: Provide a $3000 subsidy to adoptive families. Crist has not yet decided if he would repeal the ban on adoption by same-sex couples.
* Death Penalty: Defends the current law allowing non-unanimous juries to recommend the death penalty.
* Education: Continue to be an advocate for parent choice in education, including stringent testing and vouchers. Crist encourages standardized testing "to guarantee that each student receives a year's worth of learning in a year's worth of time."
* Eminent Domain: Strengthen current legal protections. Crist has stated that he believes the Kelo decision could have negative ramifications for Floridians.
* Environment: Continue the net ban aimed at protecting aquatic wildlife.
* Family Values: Support the right of municipalities to limit the sale of pornography and birth control within their city limits.
* Foster Care: Provide a $5000 subsidy to those providing foster care to families who adopt foster children.
* Gay Rights: Support gay civil unions.
* Gun Rights: Balance gun owner rights with private property rights of employers. Crist has been endorsed by the NRA.
* Hate Crimes: Stop the "clear pattern of growth" in crimes motivated by sexual orientation.
* Health Care: Require prescription drugs to be tracked from the manufacturer to the pharmacy to ensure drug safety. Endorsed by the Florida Doctors Association and the Florida Nurses Association.
* Immigration: Support closing borders for illegals and policies that promote legal immigration. Supports Senator Mel Martinez's immigration bill giving amnesty to illegals. 
* Legalized Gambling: Oppose any expansion of gambling, but not support the repeal of the Broward County slot machine amendment.
* Lawsuit Reform: Support elimination of joint and several liability.
* Property Tax: Allow homeowners to move within the same county and between different counties while maintaining their previous property tax level.
* Right to Die: Promote the availability of end of life choices, including living wills and coordination with hospice care.
Victory Smiles at Charlie Crist