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With Jane Castor Win, Tampa Elects First Openly LGBTQ Mayor

by Kilian Melloy
Wednesday Apr 24, 2019

An unbeatable edge bestowed by early voting and a campaign that avoided going negative were hallmarks in the successful campaign for mayor of Tampa, Florida, that former police chief Jane Castor won on April 23, reported local newspaper the Tampa Bay Times.

"How exciting is this!" the newly elected mayor explained as she greeted supporters. ABC Action News posted video of Castor's victory speech, and reported on how Castor, a native of the city, had served with the Tampa police department for more than three decades, much of that time as chief of police.

The election was a landslide victory for the 59-year-old Castor, ABC Action News said. The Tamps Bay Times noted that Castor's win was propelled by early ballots that gave her an "overwhelming lead" over her opponent, David Straz, 76, a retired banker who spend millions of his own money on the race.

Straz joined the city in celebrating the new mayor, stating, "If you want the best for Tampa, you want Jane Castor to succeed as mayor."

The Times noted that whereas Castor's campaign avoided negativity, Straz's campaign was little else. Straz spend significant sums to put together an ad campaign that attacked Castor, the newspaper said, and to depict "City Hall as a nest of corruption ruled by insiders," though, the paper added, his campaign "provided almost no evidence" of such things.

CNN noted that Castor's campaign had been backed by LGBTQ advocacy organizations the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Florida. The HRC took to Twitter to declare, "@HRC was proud to endorse @JaneforTampa and look forward to working closely with her to ensure the city continues to move forward as an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone."

Equality Florida also sent out a tweet, which read, "We look forward to working with Mayor-elect Castor as she continues the work to keep Tampa a beacon of diversity in the South!"

In her speech, Castor thanked her sons, "who will remain my constant joy, and by far the greatest accomplishment of my life." Added the victorious candidate, "I used to have a little plaque in their room and it said, 'I'm proud of you every day - it's just that some days I'm louder about other things.' "

Castor also thanked her life partner, Ana Cruz, who also served as political consultant on Castor's campaign. "I would not be standing here today if it was not for her," Castor said.

Watch the ABC Action News video of Castor's victory speech below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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