ORLANDO, Fla. - By the time former President Bill Clinton took the stage at the Florida Education Association meeting in Orlando, nearly 1 million Floridians had already voted by mail.
But that doesn’t mean people should relax with only 17 days left before the Nov. 8 presidential election, Clinton said.
“I want you to go out and engage voters,” he said, stumping on behalf of his wife, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state and U.S. senator.
When Bill Clinton won Florida in 1996, 5 million voters cast their ballots.
By 2012, when President Barack Obama won the state, that number had increased to 8 million.
Florida is an important state for any presidential candidate, Bill Clinton told the crowd Friday.
“Florida really is a state of the future, but the best of our past,” he said.
While most of Clinton’s bus tour stops will focus on voter turnout, his stop in Orlando centered on education.
He discussed the cost of college and eliminating student debt, and touched on what educators have called “over-testing.”
“Hillary is not opposed to all testing, but does not believe you have to give one every year for five years,” he said.
"We've just got to be a tomorrow country again, but we can't do it without a mind well-educated," he said.
Bill Clinton had a message for the teachers: Education from Pre-K to college must be forefront. He also talked about teachers concern among teachers that other things are being pushed aside due to testing.
"We should test but not too much, and bring arts and music back into our school programs," he said.
Teachers said they want Washington to show leadership.
"How are my kids going to produce on the test, and it's not fair to the kids or society, because it keeps kids from being creative thinkers," said teacher Regina Cox.
"President Clinton and Hillary are both putting education at the forefront of the campaign and it makes people like me feel empowered that we will have a voice in the White House," said teacher Lindsey Whittington.
For the last 16 years, the federal government has increased its role in education.
The message appears to be back to basics; accountability, but allow teachers to teach.
From Orlando, Bill Clinton’s tour was scheduled to take him to Jacksonville and Panama City before reaching its final destination of Pensacola Saturday.
Obama is scheduled to make an appearance in Orlando on Oct. 28, and Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, will also make a stop next week.
Clinton’s Republican opponent, billionaire Donald Trump, will be in Tampa for a campaign event Monday.
© 2018 Cox Media Group.