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Florida Matters: A Conversation With Tampa Mayor Jane Castor

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, right, with Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham
Lesley Laney
WUSF Public Media
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, right, with Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham

Jane Castor is in her first weeks as the new mayor of Tampa. Her position as the first gay mayor in the Southeastern U.S. didn't come up much during the campaign, but she made national news the day after her victory. 

"It wasn't lost on me - the significance of being the first (LGBTQ mayor in the Southeast)," Castor told Florida Matters. "It didn't come up, and it really hasn't come up. It didn't come up while I was the chief of police and it didn't come up throughout the campaign. But I fully understand the significance of being the first in the Southeast. And it's important."


"It is an important issue to show that acceptance and inclusion, and insure that not only do I continue to fight for equal rights for everyone, but also to be that role model, so kids can look up and say, hey I can be what I want to be," she said.

The issue of her being gay did come up once during a prayer breakfast, she said.

"More than one person came up to me and said, You know, I don't neccessarily agree with your lifestyle, but I'm voting for you because I think that you'll be a good leader," she said. "And that's fair enough."

The former Tampa Police Chief trounced businessman David Straz during the runoff election in April, capturing nearly three-quarters of the vote.

You can hear the complete conversation with Castor, her plans for the city of Tampa and some personal insights - including why she's not so keen on cats - by clicking the "Listen" button above.

Robin Sussingham was Senior Editor at WUSF until September 2020.
Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.