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Crist stands with Dawson, Peaden to support KidCare

Gov. Charlie Crist said he would do whatever he can to support legislators' work to overhaul KidCare, a program that pairs federal and state dollars to fund subsidized health insurance for low-income children.

"I’m going to do everything I can -- that’s why I’m here -- to help these good senators and the members of the House as it relates to KidCare," Crist said. "Everything we can do to encourage my fellow friends to help Florida's children, we're going to do."

 Sen. Mandy Dawson, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, proposed a bill earlier in the session that earned a chorus of praise from children's advocates. But it was stripped of several provisions as it went through the council of Sen. Durell Peaden, a Crestview Republican, who said the changes were at the request of the governor's office. The three stood together to pledge they'd make KidCare a quality program.

"I hope that at the end of the day, at the end of the session, we can have a program created like that where no child is left behind. And I certainly think the governor is right with us on moving that issue."

Crist said he supported extending benefits to children of state workers and legal immigrants, saying "I'm the grandson of an immigrant."