Former police chief Jane Castor became the first LGBTI person elected mayor of Tampa, Florida, last night (23 April).
Castor said her victory not only ‘sends a resounding message’ to the queer community, but ‘to the nation that Tampa celebrates its diversity.’
‘We don’t tear people down with negativity,’ Castor said to a crowd of supporters, ‘so, thank you all for believing in that message.’
Voters took to the polls and elected Castor with more than 70% of the vote. This was according to the unofficial results posted on the supervisor of elections’ website.
Her opponent, businessman David Straz, conceded the nonpartisan race.
The Florida Democratic Party posted on Twitter: ‘Jane Tampa’s historic victory is a clear win for Tampa and cements her status as a rising star in the Democratic Party.
‘Her big victory is just the latest sign that Tampa has become a vibrant, welcoming city where everyone has a shot to succeed. No matter who you love.’
Castor’s campaign was backed by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as well as the Equality Florida Action PAC.
HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof welcomed the news.
She said: ‘Today, Tampa voters made history by electing Jane Castor as the city’s first openly LGBTQ mayor,’
‘HRC was proud to endorse Castor and help turn out the vote in her historic election.
‘We congratulate Jane Castor on her victory and look forward to working closely with her to ensure the city continues to move forward as an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone.’
Who is Jane Castor?
Castor, 59, served just over 31 years at the Tampa Police Department. Most recently as Police Chief from 2009 to 2015.
Moreover, she was the department’s first woman and openly lesbian chief.
While on the campaign trail, Castor touted a historic drop of 72% in the city’s crime rates while she led the department.
But now, Castor can add to her résumé being the first lesbian mayor of a major Southeastern city. She joins a roster of 2019 out lesbian mayors; Lori Lightfoot (Chicago) and Satya Rhodes-Conway (Madison, Wisconsin).