Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Florida Politics
  4. /
  5. The Buzz

Jane Castor to LGBTQ Democrats: ’We can legislate the laws but we can’t legislate attitudes’

Tampa’s new mayor addressed a statewide Democratic audience for the first time since her April election.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor speaks at the LGBTA Democratic Caucus Summer Conference breakfast on Saturday, July 20, 2019 at Grand Hyatt in Tampa.  ALLIE GOULDING   |   Times
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor speaks at the LGBTA Democratic Caucus Summer Conference breakfast on Saturday, July 20, 2019 at Grand Hyatt in Tampa. ALLIE GOULDING | Times
Published Jul. 20
Updated Jul. 20

TAMPA — Three months after Jane Castor’s ascension to the city’s highest office, LGTBA advocates from across the state met and caught their first in-person glimpse of Tampa’s first out mayor.

“A tsunami” in Tampa, Stephen Gaskill, president of the Florida Democratic Party’s LGBTA caucus, called her win during Saturday’s meeting of his organization, to jubilant applause.

Castor, however, has been more muted about the impact of historic victory, saying it felt more like a “ripple” at a recent gathering of the country’s mayors in New York — where most the attendees beside Castor and her counterparts in Chicago and Madison, Wis., were straight.

“We’re trying to build it into a wave,” Castor said.

This weekend may have produced one of the first stones to create a splash.

Castor on Saturday addressed a statewide Democratic audience for the first time since her swearing in when she spoke at the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus summer membership meeting. A short speech to a few dozen activists and organizers over coffee and croissants — it was a modest but well-received foray into state party politics for someone who some Florida Democrats dub a “rising star.”

RELATED: LGBTQ advocates have high expectations for Tampa mayor Jane Castor

Castor’s unique background — former police chief, out woman, leader of a progressive city — are viewed as unique assets for the party in 2020 and beyond.

Castor’s remarks Saturday downplayed the personal and political aspects of her story. If her election was unique, Castor said, it was because her sexuality wasn’t an issue at all — and that itself is progress and a story Tampa can share with the world.

“The beautiful thing is no one cares. Everyone gets to be who they are,” Castor said. “In today’s atmosphere it’s more and more important. What’s going on around our nation is something I don’t believe many people stand for.”

MORE: Jane Castor’s historic win captures national spotlight and positions her as Democrats’ ‘rising star’

Castor has been coy so far about what her LGBTA agenda looks like. On issues like expanding health care to transgender city employees, bolstering outreach to the city’s gay seniors and homeless youth and ensuring LGBTA small businesses are fairly represented in city contracts, Castor hasn’t made many commitments. It’s all under consideration, she recently told the Tampa Bay Times.

Nor has she expressed an overwhelmingly desire to dive into party politics. “The job of mayor in this city of the Tampa is going to be all-encompassing. And that’s my first priority,” she said soon after her election.

But her address to the LGBTA caucus provided hints into her governing approach and how she plans to use her newfound platform to confront prejudicial sentiments in politics.

“We know that we can legislate the laws but we can’t legislate attitudes,” Castor said. “It’s the attitudes and viewpoints that we have to change as individuals and communities.”

“We can have individuals in Washington, D.C., that are discriminating on every single level,” she added, “but it’s up to every single one of us in this room to make sure everyone feels valued.”

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. AP file photo of then Gov. and now U.S. Sen. Rick Scott
    DeSantis, Rick Scott and other Republicans have taken a strong stance on Saudi Arabia in recent days. President Donald Trump?
  2. Donald Trump speaks during the Israeli-American Council’s annual summit at The Diplomat Resort & Hotel in Hollywood, Florida on Saturday, December 7, 2019. [DANIEL A. VARELA  |  Miami Herald]
    The president helps the Republican Party of Florida raise millions and speaks at a national conference on Israeli-American relations.
  3. President Donald J.Trump waves to supporters as he steps out of the Air Force One at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to attend the Republican Party of Florida's Statesman's Dinner at the  JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa and later to the Israeli-American Council Summit 2019 on Saturday. [PEDRO PORTAL  |  Miami Herald]
    The state party raised $3.5 million at the dinner where the president spoke.
  4. Donald Trump walks with his wife, Melania, after speaking to the press at the Ritz-Carlton August 26, 2012 in Sarasota, Florida. Trump accepted the Statesman of the Year Award at the Sarasota GOP dinner ahead of the Republican Nation Convention in Tampa. (Photo by Edward Linsmier/Getty Images) 150868157 [EDWARD LINSMIER  |  Getty Images]
    Trump couldn’t get prime stage time at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. So he and the Sarasota Republican Party staged their own event the night before. What happened next changed history.
  5. Paul Congemi, 62, filed paperwork this week for his fourth St. Petersburg mayoral bid. Last election he earned 188 votes. [EVE EDELHEIT  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The 2021 primary election is 628 days away.
  6. Mayor Rick Kriseman on Wednesday said he will not allow the Tampa Bay Rays to explore splitting their season between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal prior to the 2027 expiration of the team's lease of Tropicana Field. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    Politicians on both sides of the bay weigh in on St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman’s decision to cease talks with the team.
  7. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a news conference about the Zika virus, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016 in Doral, Fla.The CDC has advised pregnant women to avoid travel to the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood where mosquitoes are apparently transmitting Zika directly to humans. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
    Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said he wants to meet with Interior Department officials before green-lighting Katharine MacGregor as the second-highest Interior Department official.
  8. Transgender student Drew Adams speaks with reporters outside of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Adam's fight over school restrooms came before a federal appeals court Thursday, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High in Ponte Vedra, Fla., won a lower court ruling last year ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. The district has since appealed. [RON HARRIS  |  AP]
    The closely watched case of Drew Adams, once a high school student in Florida, is heard by a three-judge panel in Atlanta.
  9. An example of the type of white railway markings the Florida Department of Transportation plans on installing on the either side of more than 4,000 railway crossings in the state. [Florida Department of Transportation]
    The department will paint new markings on more than 4,000 railway crossings in the state.
  10. Previous competitions did not round up a lot of the invasive snakes
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement