Florida Rep. Charlie Crist talks new gubernatorial run

The Democratic congressman discusses COVID-19 restrictions, vaccine passports and his run for governor against Ron DeSantis.
5:04 | 05/14/21

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Transcript for Florida Rep. Charlie Crist talks new gubernatorial run
Florida democratic congressman Charlie Crist has announced his candidacy for governor, saying he wants his job back. Sometimes I'd like to get some of my old jobs back. Let's bring in congressman Charlie Crist. You are a Republican governor who ran for the senate as an independent now a democratic congressman who is running for governor as a Democrat for a second time. I think I got it right, but why are you now -- I think you got it right, T.J. I think you chronicled it very well. So why now are you the guy again would you say in these times? Well, I think we need better in Florida. I really do. I think that what we've witnessed over the past three years with governor Desantis has been a severe disappointment. He won't accept medicaid expansion for 800,000 of my fellow floridians to get health care. Doesn't believe in a woman's right to choose which I think is fundamentally important and, you know, last week he just signed a new bill that really is going to suppress the vote in Florida, makes it harder to utilize mail-in ballots, not as many drop boxes, particularly in inner cities, which I think is a terrible thing. It could go on and on and on but I just think Florida deserves better. We need to have somebody who has the values of decency, kindness, looking out for one another and a Florida for all. That's what I'm running on. In Florida, have you turned the corner at this point? There's plenty of criticism and back and forth you could have with governor Desantis about his policies and what he did during the pandemic, but at this point have you all turned a corner? What needs to happen next for Florida that you don't think he will be able to take the state through? If Florida were a country, we would be in the top 20 in number of cases in the world. So we're not doing great. I hope and I pray that we get this thing behind us sooner than later, we all do, of course. The governor Desantis never had a plan. Did not advocate mask wearing even in the height of the virus, that's the wrong way to comport ourselves. I wonder how many of those 136,000 of my fellow floriians might still have been with us if we had better leadership at the top. You know governor Desantis has banned businesses from requiring passport -- vaccine passports and this obviously is going to have an impact on lots of businesses there in your state, including the cruise ship industry. Where do you stand on vaccine passports and businesses? We should have vaccine passports. I think that's important. I met with someone in the cruise line industry, CEOs and what they told me is that they don't want to have a ship go out when we have three ports that really have an awful lot of cruise line industry business, jobs, et cetera. I mean, you know, if you talk about having 98% and 152% on the ship not vaccinated, you could suffer an outbreak, it would decimate the industry if that were to happen. I don't know why the governor doesn't believe in safety first. You know, I don't T it. I really don't and that's why I'm running against him, I think we need better and Florida deserves better and a Florida for all. And congressman just one last thing here. We're coming off national teacher appreciation state. Your state ranks 49th when it comes to teachers' salaries, one of three that has an average salary below $50,000. How much should a teacher in Florida be making? A lot more than they are right now. I used to be commissioner of education in Florida. The last elected commissioner of education before I was attorney general and governor. Being 49th in the country out of 50 states is shameful. That's the kind of leadership though, we have under governor Desantis and that's why I know we can do better and I believe floridians want better and I look forward to the race ahead. You have a number, a salary number you'd like them to get to? Oh, at least $50,000. You know, I felt that when I was commissioner of education back in the early 2000s, some of our teachers should be making $100,000, and I think they still should. You know, we have to value those who do so much for our children, and that's important for us to focus on. I mean, I believe that education, T.J. And Amy, is an equal opportunity provider in our country, and we have to get it right. We have to prove it by funding it and cherishing them and supporting our teachers every single day. That's the right thing to do and that's the right way to go. That's what god would want us to do. Value these wonderful people who do so much for others. They do unto others as we want done unto us and practice the golden rule in the classroom. You are preaching to the choir with Amy and I. We are the kids of educators here so we absolutely understand how much they do. God bless you. Governor -- representative -- Mr. Crist -- Whatever you want. I've been called worst. It is good to -- Charlie is fine. We will see you down the road. Good luck. We'll be watching from New York. You take care now. Have a good weekend. Thank you both. Look forward to it. Charliecrist.com if you want to help out.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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