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Tampa to host 2019 LGBTA Democratic Caucus summer conference

Charlie Crist, Kathy Castor, Jennifer Webb and Jane Castor will speak at the conference.

Several Tampa Bay area elected officials will speak at this year’s Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus summer conference.

The conference this year is “Defining and Defending our LGBTQ Future.” It will be held July 19-21 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay in Rocky Point. 

U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist and Kathy Castor, state Rep. Jennifer Webb and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor will all speak at the conference. 

Castor, Tampa’s first openly gay Mayor, will speak Saturday July 20 during the opening breakfast session at 8 a.m. Crist will deliver the Congressional keynote address that evening during a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried delivering another address after.

“This is a pivotal moment for Florida’s LGBTQ community. Despite the progress that has been made, we are up against Republican elected officials who are actively working to take away our rights. Democratic elected officials and activists are coming together from across Florida to organize and plan for the next phase in the fight for full LGBTQ equality,” said Stephen Gaskill, president of the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus.

Congresswoman Castor is one of several sponsors for the opening day registration July 19. Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner will moderate a hate crimes panel July 20 from 1-3 p.m.

Other local speakers include Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller, Tampa City Council member Luis Viera and former Pinellas County Democratic Party chair Susan McGrath

In all, the summer conference will include more than 100 LGBTQ allies and activists from across Florida as well as local, state and federal elected officials, Democratic Party officials and subject matter experts.

A complete list of topics is not yet available, but a tentative schedule is available on the group’s website.

Conference registration in advance is $45. Same-day registration is $50. Another leadership dinner July 20 is $90 in advance or $100 at the door. Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is one of that event’s sponsors.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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