The year of the queer (public official) continues, as Tampa, Florida just elected its first lesbian mayor on Tuesday. The new representative, Jane Castor, is the 59-year-old ex-police chief for the city and was running against a local businessman named David Straz. In the first election, Castor won 49% of the vote and Straz won 15.5% of the vote. However, because neither candidate had a majority of the vote, the election went into a runoff that culminated in yesterday’s vote. Castor was widely expected to win the runoff.
During her acceptance speech, Castor said that her victory “sends a resounding message to our community — no, it sends a resounding message to the nation, that Tampa celebrates its diversity and lifts everyone up in a positive way.” Castor also said she plans to use her position as mayor to focus on “strengthening our neighborhoods” and make improvements to Tampa that citizens would “be proud to pass off to the next generation.”
“Both LGBTQ people and women face tremendous obstacles in running for public office, but Jane’s victory shows lesbian candidates can win citywide office with a strong record of public service and policy priorities that align with their constituents,” Annise Parker, former mayor of Houston and president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, told NBC News. “While voters chose Jane because of her vision for Tampa, her willingness to be open and honest about her life lent her an authenticity that voters are drawn to not just in Tampa, but across the nation.”