Meet Jane Castor, lesbian mayor of Tampa
A former police chief, Jane Castor is one of the few LGBTQ individuals who stepped up and ran for elected local positions. Now she’s the first LGBTQ mayor of Tampa, Florida.
The 59-year old Castor, who easily won the position in a runoff, said her victory sends a message to the nation that “Tampa celebrates its diversity and lifts everyone up in a positive way.”
Speaking to her supporters, she said: “We don’t tear people down with negativity. So thank you all for believing in that message.”
Jane Castor’s Tampa story
Born in 1959, Jane Castor was born, raised and educated in Tampa, Florida. She graduated from Chamberlain High School in 1977 and went on to attend the University of Tampa on an athletic scholarship.
While at university, she played volleyball and basketball. She earned a degree in criminology to graduate in 1981.
Attending classes at MacDill Air Force Base, she got her Master of Public Administration from Troy State University.
She bought her first house in Seminole Heights in 1982 and she never left it.
She joined the Tampa Police Department in 1984 as a beat cop, and became assistant chief in 2005. By 2009, she was appointed as chief. By 2015, she retired after 31 years.
Jane Castor takes the job
For the 2019 mayoral elections in Tampa held last March 5, she threw her hat in the ring and proceeded to lead against all candidates, getting 48.0 percent of the votes.
In the runoff elections lat April 23 against businessman David Straz, she beat him with 73 percent of the vote against Straz’s 27 percent.
Castor ran on a platform of issues focusing on strengthening neighborhoods, which covered boosting transit options and boosting affordable housing stock in a rapidly gentrifying city.
During her campaign, she endorsed by the Tampa Bay Times, Equality Florida Action PAC, Emily’s List, Ruth’s List, Victory Fund, LPAC, Hillsborough County LGBTA Democratic Caucus and Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Association.
Castor, meanwhile, said after winning: “I have never been more hopeful or more excited about our city’s future.”
Jane Castor wins the Tampa vote
With Castor’s victory, the Florida Democratic Party said that Castor’s “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.”
Meanwhile, Human Rights Campaign– which backed Castor– said they “look forward to working closely with her to ensure the city continues to move forward as an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone.”
HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof said: “HRC was proud to endorse Castor and help turn out the vote in her historic election.”
Equality Florida Action PAC, said in a tweet that Castor “has made history tonight as Tampa’s first openly #LGBTQ mayor!”
Presently, Castor is a relationship with Democratic political analyst Ana Marie Cruz. She was previously in a civil union with Bradenton Police Department chief Melanie Jean Bevan but they divorced in July 2018.