Miami Beach Commissioner David Richardson has officially filed to run for Florida’s remapped House District 106, following through on a commitment he made last month to again seek a seat in the Legislature.
Richardson, who became Florida’s first openly gay state lawmaker with his historic 2012 election to the House, announced Wednesday that he has submitted all the requisite paperwork for another run at the chamber.
He said he will continue to serve on the City Commission until November, at which point he hopes to secure the open seat representing the state’s new HD 106, which runs along the Miami-Dade County coast between Miami Beach and Aventura.
“Public service for me is not about a title, it’s about serving the community I love deeply,” he said. “But given the new onslaught of legislative attacks on LGBTQ Floridians, including the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, I have decided this is a critical moment to run for the Florida House once again.”
The so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill — a term assigned to it by critics of the legislation — is a proposal (SB 1834, HB 1557) by Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley and Rep. Joe Harding that cleared the House last week.
The measure would, among other things, ban LGBTQ-related topics in pre-K through third grade classrooms, limit discussions of gender, sexual orientation and sexuality at other grade levels and enable parents to sue school districts they believe violated those rules.
Another bill (HB 7) that also passed in the House, dubbed an “Individual Freedom” bill, would ban required discussions and lessons in classrooms and workplaces of subjects Republicans contend are meant to indoctrinate cultural guilt in students and employees.
Progressives need to address those matters and others, Richardson said.
“We’ve accomplished so much over the last three years in local government, including new ways to make our community welcoming for our diverse constituents, but more needs to be done at the state level,” he said. “Families face a growing affordability crisis that state leaders continue to ignore and we need to make sure that the state is giving Miami-Dade County and our cities within the county a fair share of state funding so we can deploy solutions to our pressing challenges.”
Richardson, who was elected to the Miami Beach Commission in 2019, first served in the House after running for an open seat representing a newly drawn House District 113.
He won that race in 2012, then earned re-election in 2014 and 2016. In 2018, he launched a bid to succeed Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. He lost by 4.4 percentage points in the Democratic Primary to Donna Shalala, who went on to win.
Richardson must submit a resignation letter to Miami Beach before qualifying in June. He would then need to resign no later than Election Day, Nov. 8. Bay Harbor Islands Council member Jordan Leonard is among the candidates Richardson will be competing with in the HD 106 Democratic Primary. The field will not be finalized until the House’s proposed redistricting map is approved by the courts.
As part of his campaign launch, Richardson shared the below video detailing his local work and the problems he aims to tackle in Tallahassee.