Michele Rayner-Goolsby Will Be The First Queer Black Woman To Hold Any Political Office In Florida: 'The Pride I Feel Isn’t Just About Me'
Rayner-Goolsby was elected to represent Florida House District 70.
November 13, 2020 at 12:40 am
After winning Florida’s primary election in August, Michele Rayner-Goolsby has been elected as the first openly queer Black woman to hold any political office in the state. The congresswoman will represent Florida House District 70, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Rayner-Goolsby told Blavity the pride she feels in her historic win represents the potential of what is possible for an America courageous enough to work together.
"I am proud to be the first Black woman to hold this seat and to be the first openly-queer Black woman to hold political office in this state,” the congresswoman-elect told Blavity last week. “But the pride I feel isn’t just about me, it’s about us. This win represents a new day; one where anything is possible when we stand with one another for what is right, no matter how big the challenge. You’ve elected me to fight for you and with you and that’s exactly what I am going to do as your representative.”
Rayner-Goolsby, a civil rights attorney in the state, has worked for the office of noted lawyer Ben Crump. She ran against three other Florida candidates over the summer, without a challenge from the Republican Party, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Then-candidate Rayner-Goolsby’s winning platform focused on equity in housing, healthcare and education, as well as environmentalism and criminal justice reform.
Earlier this year, she told Blavity it was her work as a civil rights attorney that drew her to the legislature.
Rayner-Goolsby listed the 2018 killing of an unarmed Markeis McGlockton among her growing discontent with politics as usual. McGlockton’s killer was initially protected by Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, and only later arrested and charged with manslaughter.
“Markeis McGlockton’s father said 'I knew about Stand Your Ground, I knew it was a law, but I never knew it would affect me in such a personal way,'" then-candidate Rayner-Goolsby told Blavity. “This is what’s happening in Tallahassee, D.C., and in other cities across the nation. We must understand how these laws are personally impacting people of color.”
“It was an honor to have a small part in this moment- especially in portions of my district. We even helped flip Pinellas BLUE ????????, ” Rayner-Goolsby wrote of her hometown in an Instagram post. “Thank you for centering this Black, Queer woman’s voice and giving me opportunity when others overlooked me."