Florida Five: Rubio reacts to Crist embarrassing himself, Judge dismisses Fla. teachers’ union gripe

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

TeacherJudge dismisses Fla. teachers’ union gripe over performance evaluations: It’s Teacher Appreciation Week in the Sunshine State, and to celebrate a federal judge ruled against a federation of Florida teachers’ unions Tuesday.The ruling centered on a matter near and dear to union hearts and wallets — teacher evaluations. Education reformers might call the decision a moment of student appreciation. It’s a bitter pill for the Florida Education Association, a 140,000-member organization, and the National Education Association, which together sued the state more than a year ago alleging constitutional violations of due process and equal protection. U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Waller disagreed. Read more.

Rubio reacts: Even the Dems are embarrassed by Charlie Crist’s absolutely phony lie: Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, the one-time Republican who turned Independent when he realized he was getting his clock cleaned by Marco Rubio in 2010 , claims he left the GOP because of racism. The reaction by anyone who knows anything about Florida politics was likely an audible laugh and then a feeling of overwhelming disgust.Fox News’ Neil Cavuto asked U.S. Senator Rubio to give his reaction on Wednesday’s program: Watch video.

Crist may visit Cuba: In a move that would have been unthinkable for any statewide Florida candidate just a few years ago, Charlie Crist is looking into visiting Cuba this summer. Nothing is final, but Crist is eager to learn more about the country as he calls for normalizing relations with Florida’s neighbor. “The embargo has done nothing in fifty years to change the regime in Cuba or end the suffering of the Cuban people,” said Crist campaign spokesman Kevin Cate. “Gov. Crist is exploring every opportunity to help bring economic freedom and democracy to the people of Cuba.” Read more.

UnemploymentSeeking: Excellent, or conscious, Democratic candidate for Congress: Democratic Party seeks perfect congressional candidate. Think you have what it takes to fix Washington, D.C.? Enjoy long walks on the beach with potential voters? The Florida Democratic Party has a job for you! We are seeking well-qualified, well-spoken, well-intended candidates for Pinellas County’s congressional seat. Pay no mind to the Republican currently in the office. Democrats will soon prevail in the name of universal health care and America. Read more.

Sizeable opportunities exist for Florida exports: Lately, the big news is buying local. More and more consumers are looking for local goods when making purchases, and local is a growing segment. However, in Florida, our goods aren’t just sold to local markets.In fact, exports are a big business as well. Today, 170 countries and territories find themselves as trading partners with Florida. Moreover, in 2013, the total amount of agricultural exports was $4,116,162,451, up 1.9 percent from 2012.“From our number one trading partner, Canada, with $963 million accounting for nearly 25 percent of our overall exports, to the fastest growing market, South Korea, opportunities abound for Florida agricultural producers,” said Dan Sleep, supervisor/senior analyst, Division of Marketing and Development, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Read more.

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