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Pete Buttigieg to keynote Florida LGBTQ caucus conference

Openly gay presidential candidate tops list of LGBTQ pols spotlighted at event.

Former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg will deliver the national keynote at the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus’ conference in September.

The event will take place online this year on Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will be themed “It’s In Your Hands.”

“COVID-19 keeps us from meeting in person, but we have a tremendous amount of work to do to change the direction of our country by electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” said Stephen Gaskill, Caucus president.

“Our virtual conference features party leaders, issue experts, and campaign strategists who will inspire us, teach us, and guide us in our mission to defeat Donald Trump.”

Buttigieg, former Mayor of South Bend, Ind., was the first openly gay candidate to come out on top at a major presidential caucus when he led Bernie Sanders in the Democratic caucuses in Iowa in February, though the race was so close the Associated Press would not declare a winner. His performance in Iowa served as a high mark to a run that made history in numerous ways, including becoming the first LGBTQ candidate to participate in a major party debate when the Democrats held an event in Miami.

The Indiana Democrat later dropped out just ahead of Super Tuesday and endorsed Biden, leading the way as a number of contenders consolidated behind the ultimate nominee.

Buttigieg will be the most widely known gay politician to speak at the event, but tops a list of other LGBTQ elected officials and allies.

Rep. Shevrin Jones, who just won the Democratic primary in Senate District 35, will moderate a panel at the event that includes Michele Rayner, who just won an election in House District 70. Jones faces only write-in opposition in November and is expected to become the first gay senator in the Florida Legislature. He made national news in 2018 when he came out as Florida’s first openly gay black lawmaker.

Rayner will be the first black lesbian to serve in the Florida Legislature. She will be on the panel alongside Omari Hardy and Angie Nixon, both House candidates who won Democratic primaries against anti-LGBTQ opponents.

Hotspots Media Group will broadcast the event this year online at LGBTQDems.org. Registration is free but attendees are asked to register.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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