By Zachary Fagenson and David Adams
MIAMI (Reuters) - Democrat Charlie Crist picked Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, a South Florida Hispanic, as his running mate for the Florida gubernatorial race in November.
Born in Colombia to an American father and Colombian mother, Taddeo-Goldstein, 47, is vice-chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party and a member of the Democratic National Committee.
"She's a working mom, she's a great Floridian, she has a heart of gold," Crist told a Miami press conference on Thursday.
Taddeo-Goldstein is expected to boost Crist's support in South Florida's large Hispanic community, as well as among women voters, if he wins the Democratic primary for November's race against Rick Scott, the incumbent Republican governor.
If elected, she would be the first Hispanic female lieutenant governor of Florida. Scott also has a Hispanic running mate, the current lieutenant governor, Carlos López-Cantera, 40, who was born in Spain to parents of Cuban origin.
Taddeo-Goldstein moved to the United States at age 17 and is chief executive of a Miami-area language services company.
"As a working mom, as a small business owner and a proud Floridian I am thrilled at the opportunity to serve as lieutenant governor of the state," she told reporters.
"I know what it's like to live on the minimum wage; I know what it's like as a small business owner to worry whether or not you'll be able to make payroll," she added.
"I know what it's like in the middle of recession when big corporate clients call you up and tell you (they're cutting orders)."
Taddeo-Goldstein was born on a U.S. military base in Colombia, where her father met her mother while he was serving in the armed forces, according to her website. She graduated from the University of North Alabama in 1992 with a degree in commercial Spanish and a minor in business administration before settling in Miami, where she founded LanguageSpeak, a translation and private language tutoring company, in 1995. She previously served as chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and was the Democratic nominee for Congress in South Florida's 18th District in 2008, losing to Republican incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
She is married to Eric Goldstein, a clinical psychologist and motivational speaker.
(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Writing by David Adams; Editing by Jim Loney)