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Politics / Issues

Crist Pushing for Minimum Wage, Equal Pay

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Mary Shedden/WUSF

If Charlie Crist returns to Florida's governor's office, he plans to sign some executive orders as his first order of business, he said Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

His plan would address areas popular with Democratic voters. Crist would raise the minimum wage for state contractors and promote equal pay for women at companies doing business with the state. He would require the state to hire Florida companies as subcontractors whenever possible.

One of the five orders also takes a swipe at incumbent Governor Rick Scott. Crist, who himself served as Governor from 2007 to 2011, says the Republican is reluctant to disclose public information.

“The first of the five (executive orders) will be the one directed toward transparency,” he told members of the media and a small group gathered at the Enoch Davis Center. “I think it's fundamentally important that you have access to your government, that travel records are not redacted. That you don't have to pay exorbitant fees in order to get records that are rightfully yours."

Crist still faces South Florida Senator Nan Rich in a Democratic primary next month.

He refuses to debate Rich, but instead wants to square off with Scott. Scott announced Tuesday he will take part in three debates, hosted by CNN, Leadership Florida and the Telemundo network. Crist wants to meet more than that, including at least one town hall style gathering.

“We can't debate enough. Because there is a lot to debate about,” Crist said. “And it's about the future of Florida, and it's about fundamental fairness that I've talked about this morning. It's about raising the minimum wage. It's about being fair to women and having equal pay for women. It's about not discriminating against LGBT or anybody else on any other basis."