Equality Florida celebrates Rick Kriseman, Darden Rice wins


St. Petersburg voters chose Tuesday to give Mayor Rick Kriseman a second term and keep City Councilmember Darden Rice in place for another four years, both of which were cheered by LGBTQ rights group Equality Florida.

“Tonight the LGBTQ community in Tampa Bay saw two of its most vocal champions re-elected for a second term. Mayor Rick Kriseman has been fighting for us since his first days on the St. Petersburg City Council and tonight we proved that we show up for the leaders who have shown up for us,” said the group’s political director, former state Rep. Joe Saunders.

“Especially in today’s political climate, LGBTQ Floridians need to know that there are leaders who will fight for and defend our families. We’re excited to continue our work with Mayor Rick Kriseman, Council Member Rice and the entire St. Petersburg City Council to keep St. Petersburg a leading city in the South on issues of equality and justice.”

Kriseman beat out former two-term Mayor Rick Baker 51-49 Tuesday to hold onto his job. Rice cruised past college student and businessman Jerick Johnston 73-27.

Equality Florida gave Kriseman one of his earliest endorsements in his re-election campaign, and celebrated his narrow win in the August mayoral primary with glee. At the time, Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith said the LGBTQ community “proved we know who our true friend is.”

In the leadup to Election Day, the group harped on the importance of the mayoral race, calling it a “defining race for all LGBTQ Floridians” and claiming a Baker win could send the city “in the wrong direction.”

EQFL Action PAC, the political committee associated with Equality Florida, poured significant resources into both the primary and the general election by making tens of thousands of phone calls and launching a digital “get out the vote” effort in support of Kriseman.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

One comment

  • Christopher M. Kennard

    November 7, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Step by step, people in America have engaged the expanding civil rights of individuals and the nation in which we live — in the 1960’s-1970’s it was the converging of the Civil Rights Movement regarding racial discrimination and the Vietnam War’s Peace Movement’s realization that killing Vietnamese men, women and children was little different than what going on at home . . . both were wrong. The civil rights struggle continues on today. Women’s rights was the third civil rights movement that evolved from the 1960’s and also continues on today. Gay rights has moved the goal posts even further, adding to the mix. The next issue to evolve will be the cannabis civil rights movement of 2018 – 2020 to fully legalize all plants of the genus, Cannabis, (cannabis and hemp) and provide the right of adults [in Florida] over the age of twenty-one to possess, use and grow our own cannabis on private property and within our own homes, whether for medicinal purposes of simply to relax and enjoy, in the privacy of our own property.

    The Cannabis Civil Rights Movement directly impacts the many ways the prohibition of “marijuana” [a racist slur used against Mexicans ] or “cannabis” {marijuana ‘s proper name] actually acts to control the American people, through employment and the stream of wealth going to the more corrupt elements of the 1% mega-wealthy cabal struggling to retain their hold over all the rest of us, the 99% of the American people.

    (1) Our criminal justice system crime classification and sentencing policies;

    (2) The right of patients to use cannabis for personal medicinal use;

    (3) The form of modern day physical bondage that exists today through the threat and reality of “unjust” terminations of employment and/or denial of job opportunities due to pre-employment and random drug tests that often detect cannabis use off the job, when employees are not at work;

    (4) The erosion of an American citizen’s right to pursue life, liberty and happiness in reference to cannabis use, as well as the infringement arising from the drug war policies of “no knock” police intrusion and asset seizures of private property, whether or not arrests or charges are never made, which is often plain wrong for our government or police to do.

    (5) The original issue of hemp being made illegal in order to “push” the development of petroleum oil for auto fuel, motor oil, the base for plastics, and to continue the practice of cutting down virgin forests for making paper and other products instead of using biodegradable hemp, which would not have polluted the world in which we live as petroleum oil and plastics have, nor would we have cut down many of our national forests as we have done.

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