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Jane Castor's Journey From Police Chief To Tampa's First LGBTQ Mayor

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor at her Oath of Office ceremony, May 1, 2019. (City of Tampa)
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor at her Oath of Office ceremony, May 1, 2019. (City of Tampa)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Four years ago, same-sex couples couldn’t get married in Tampa, Florida. This spring, the city elected its first lesbian mayor. We talk with Mayor Jane Castor.


Jane Castor, mayor of Tampa, Florida. Former Tampa chief of police. (@JaneCastor)

From The Reading List

Tampa Bay Times: “Jane Castor wins big in Tampa mayor’s race” – “Jane Castor is Tampa’s next mayor, making history as the first openly gay mayor to gain office in Tampa Bay.

“The retired police chief crushed opponent David Straz with 73 percent of the vote, stretching a near-win in the primary seven weeks ago into a full-on rout Tuesday night.

“It was over before the first ballot cast on Election Day got counted. Castor, 59, ran up an overwhelming lead in early voting, ending any hope for Straz despite his record spending on the race.

“Campaign finance reports show the retired banker spent nearly $5-million during the campaign, much of it from his personal fortune. That means Straz spent nearly $345 for every vote he received. Castor, who won all but 7 of the city’s 103 precincts, spent about $44 per vote.”

Miami Herald: “Jane Castor’s historic win as first gay mayor of Tampa captures national spotlight” — “After a sound sleep, Jane Castor started her first day as Tampa’s mayor-elect with too many text messages and voicemails to get through before the media interviews began.

“Odds are those congratulatory messages have a theme: A political star is born.

“A race hardly on the radar of most Americans before Tuesday night was national news by Wednesday morning as outlets across the country touted her groundbreaking election. CNN and the Huffington Post featured her. Activists across the country celebrated as LGBTQ publications like the Washington Blade amplified her backstory.

“She was a ‘Twitter Moment.’

“Seemingly overnight, Castor, 59, has an enviable political profile: winner in a landslide, former police chief, mother of two and popular well-known figure in the third-largest city in a crucial swing state. Not to mention a history maker as the first out mayor in Tampa Bay history.”

USA Today: “Tampa picks out former chief to lead city. Could 2019 become ‘Year of the Lesbian Mayor’?” — “Tampa’s former police chief Jane Castor made history Tuesday, becoming the first openly LGBTQ candidate elected mayor of a major southeastern U.S. city and continuing a mini-wave for out mayoral candidates winning big in metros throughout the country.

“Castor follows former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot, who earlier this month became Chicago’s first out gay person and black woman to win the mayor’s seat the nation’s third-largest city. Sataya Rhodes-Conway also was elected this month as Madison, Wisconsin’s first out mayor by trouncing incumbent Paul Soglin, who held the seat for 22 years.

“Another lesbian candidate looking to lead a big U.S. city, Kansas City council member Jolie Justus, will face fellow councilman Quinton Lucas in a June 18 runoff race there.”

Matt Hoisch and Anna Bauman produced this hour for broadcast.

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