Florida Matters: A Conversation With Tampa Mayor Jane Castor

May 14, 2019

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

Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham asks Castor about whether she considers herself a role model - and why she likes certain breeds of chihuahuas and schnauzers - but is not so crazy about cats.

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

The election made national news, lauding her as the first LGBTQ mayor of a city in the Southeastern U.S. That topic didn't come up during the campaign, but Castor acknowledged its importance.

"It wasn't lost on me - the significance of being the first," 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."

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.