Pride-banning Ronda Storms announces bid for Florida House

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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Republican Ronda Storms, who spearheaded Hillsborough County’s now-defunct ban on the recognition of LGBTQ Pride, has announced her candidacy for Florida’s House District 59.

“I’m Ronda Storms,” the two-term state senator and Hillsborough County commissioner announced via social media on March 9. “I want to thank each of you that have stopped [to encourage] me to run for office. After much prayerful consideration, my family and I have decided to step forward and make the personal sacrifice necessary to run… this time, State House, District 59, Republican.”

Storms left the public eye in 2012 after she lost a property appraiser’s race, but her anti-LGBTQ ban on pride celebrations in Hillsborough County remained until 2013. “I move that we adopt a policy that Hillsborough County government abstain from acknowledging, promoting or participating in gay pride recognition and events, little g, little p,” Storms infamously introduced the anti-LGBTQ measure in 2005. It passed.

“Through many challenges and joys, I have had the honor to serve our community in a variety of front line ways,” Storms says. “I am a proven leader in standing up against sales tax expansion, property tax expansion, and increases in rates and fees.

“In fact, when I have been paid for my services as a public servant, I have repeatedly, successfully, voted to reduce my own salary,” she continues. “As your state representative for District 59, I will be what I have always been… a CONSERVATIVE voice for Florida.”

“Ronda Storms would be a disaster in the Florida House,” Joe Saunders, senior political director of Equality Florida, says. “She has made her career by attacking LGBTQ people in Hillsborough County and across the state.

“Commissioner Storms’ perspectives on LGBTQ people are widely out of sync with those of the people of Tampa Bay and the majority of members serving in the Florida legislature,” he continues. “Not only have a clear majority of members of both the Florida House and Florida Senate promised to vote for LGBT non-discrimination protections if given the chance, but in 2018 over 43 percent of elected members of the legislature have publicly co-sponsored the Competitive Work Force Act, a bill that would finally ban LGBT discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations.”

Saunders further advises that “this bipartisan and unprecedented group of lawmakers are leaning their names, reputations and political capital into equality and inclusion,” noting that “if Ronda hopes to have any future in Florida politics it’s time for her to apologize for years of bigoted attacks and to do the hard work to gain a new perspective on and appreciation for our LGBTQ community.”

Watermark asked Storms if she had a specific message for LGBTQ voters who may feel hesitant about her run given her history with LGBTQ Pride in Hillsborough County. The candidate simply noted that her message was the same that she had for every voter.

“Look at my record,” Storms says. “Make your decision based on your conscience and my record.”

In addition to Brandon, District 59 in Hillsborough County includes Bloomingdale, Gibsonton, Palm River-Clair Mel, Progress Village, Riverview and Valrico.

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