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January 2, 2007 to January 4, 2011
Governor Charlie Crist was born in 1956 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, but his family soon settled in St. Petersburg. As a public school student Governor Crist quickly learned the value of participation, leading him to serve as class president at St. Petersburg High School and, later, as student body vice president at Florida State University. In high school Crist was the starting quarterback his football team. He later played football at Wake Forest University before transferring and receiving his undergraduate degree from Florida State in 1978. Governor Crist then earned his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama.
Governor Crist received invaluable experience in Florida's criminal justice system while interning in the State Attorney's Office before accepting a position as general counsel for the minor league division of the Baseball Commissioner's Office. Governor Crist began his government service as state director for U.S. Senator Connie Mack before later returning to the private practice of law with the Tampa firm of Wood and Crist.
In 1992, Governor Crist won a seat in the Florida Senate. For six years in the Senate, Governor Crist served as Chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and as Chairman of the Appropriations Criminal Justice Subcommittee. A strong voice for public safety, he sponsored, among other legislation, the Stop Turning Out Prisoners (STOP) bill requiring prisoners to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences. This earned him numerous honors, including appointment as an Honorary Sheriff by the Florida Sheriffs Association—only the third person to receive the honor in the organization's long history.
After Governor Crist completed his Senate service, Governor Jeb Bush appointed him as Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. In 2000, Governor Crist won a special election and became Florida's last elected Commissioner of Education.
Governor Crist's path of public service next led him to seek election as Attorney General in 2002. He carried the general election by more than one-third of a million votes to become Florida's first elected Republican Attorney General.
On November 7, 2006 Governor Charlie Crist was elected to serve as Florida's Governor.