Florida LGBTQ caucus lineup includes Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Nikki Fried

The group will honor Stephanie Murphy and Michele Rayner-Goolsby.

The Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus will host the major candidates for Governor and Senate at a gathering this month. Organizers aim to activate voters as Florida sees a bevy of controversial laws involving LGBTQ equality passed.

“We are ready to fight,” said Stephen Gaskill, president of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus.

“The young people who fought the Don’t Say Gay bill in school walkouts, those impacted by the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the vulnerable Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ communities being targeted by Florida Republicans in legislative attacks, verbal slurs, and physical assaults — we all need to be inspired, uplifted, and motivated to vote for change. That’s what we’ll accomplish this weekend.”

The group’s Summer Caucus announced a guest list for its July 22-24 event that includes Charlie Crist and Nikki Fried, who face off a month later in a Democratic Primary for Governor.

Of note, Crist holds a speaking spot while Fried is part of the welcome reception along with Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantolis, Agriculture Commissioner candidate Ryan Morales and congressional candidates Hava Holzhauer and Ben Sorenson.

U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who is running for Senate, will attend the Saturday evening cocktail. There, the caucus will also honor U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Winter Park Democrat, with a Congressional Leadership Award for her role on the Jan. 6 Committee.

Additionally, the group will honor one of Florida’s most prominent LGBTQ elected officials, state Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby. The St. Petersburg Democrat was the first Black queer woman elected to the Legislature, and she will be presented the award by state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, the first Gay Latino elected to the House.

Sen. Lauren Book, Florida Senate Democratic Leader, and U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick are also listed as headliners for the event.

The event takes place at The Westin, with a host of events featuring a range of elected officials scheduled to talk.

Panels will be held on topics including the impact of the Roe v. Wade reversal on LGBTQ rights, the topic of a speech by Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, and the use of culture wars to distract from economic issues. That latter topic will be discussed in a panel with state Sen. Annette Taddeo, also a congressional candidate, state Rep. Christine Hunschofsky and House candidate Hillary Cassel.

Floridians for Reproductive Freedom’s Emma Collum and House candidate Ashley Gantt will also discuss abortion’s future in Florida.

Book will participate in a luncheon presentation with House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell and Senate candidates Eunic Ortiz and Janelle Perez.

Smith will have a speaking spot, as will congressional candidate Jared Moskowitz. Rayner will participate on a panel on building a Democratic bench with state Rep. Marie Woodson, Hallandale Beach Commissioner Sabrina Javellana and congressional candidate Maxwell Alejandro Frost.

And touching on one of the biggest LGBTQ issues in the county, a panel will be held with student organizers of protests against a Florida measure critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Participants include Maxx FenningJavier Gomez, Will Larkins and Nathalie Saladrigas.

Jacob Ogles

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 [email protected].


  • Joe Corsin

    July 11, 2022 at 9:11 am

    Florida is now a far right police state thanks to the Florida GOP. Laissez faire capitalist grifters dream but slave state for everyone else. Vote out the religious maniacs and neo nazis. Vote Crist for governor..

  • Don’t Look Up

    July 11, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    American and especially Florida voters need to remove as many incompetent fake conservative culture war Republicans from office.

    Republicans are the reason we don’t have responsible gun legislation. VOTE REPUBLICANS OUT OF OFFICE.

    • Elliott Offen

      July 11, 2022 at 1:47 pm

      Republicans sole function is to see that money continues to flow upward to the rich. They are empty suits who do nothing for society or the American people. Their answer to every problem is “go to work or go to jail… either is fine with us.”

  • PeterH

    July 11, 2022 at 1:45 pm

    Americans, and Democrats in particular may be unhappy with some of the Biden administration policies ….. but that unhappiness does not equate to voting for Republicans.

    Recent Gallop Voter Affiliation poll:

    Republicans 27%
    Democrats 27%
    Independent voters 43%


    • Jerry

      July 11, 2022 at 8:38 pm

      OK. And Joe Biden’s approval rating with independents in Florida is 31%.
      What do you say to that?

  • Impeach Biden

    July 11, 2022 at 3:22 pm

    Sorry to all of my purple haired, body piercing, and tattoo people. You only represent roughly 5%!to 7% of the population in the state of Florida and across the nation. Of course those Democrat goofballs will say all the things they normally say about Republicans. They are racist, evil, coming after your social security and Medicare / Medicaid. Of course the red haired, spacer people will eat it up but in the end DeSantis will remain Governor. Hey Newsom would take all of you green haired liberals back to Kalifornia. You will fit right in out there. Don’t let the door hit you in the rear.

  • Impeach Biden

    July 11, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    Someone has been smoking way too much “Devil’s Lettuce”.

  • Mary Oneyhatt

    July 12, 2022 at 7:11 am

    Desantis will be shoked to see how many of his unvaxxed and maskless voters he killed with Covid. He already has a teacher shortage that he can’t fill. The vagina’s are going to vote….

Comments are closed.


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