More than 120 LGBT Democratic activists, elected officials, and candidates representing all 13 of the Caucus’ chapters headed down to the Summer Conference of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus in Key West last month. The conference was hosted locally by the Lambda Democrats of Key West, and Central Florida sent a delegation from the Rainbow Democratic Club of Orange County, the Hillsborough GLBTA Democratic Caucus, and the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County.
Several Key West officials welcomed the group, including Rep. Ron Saunders, the incoming Democratic leader of the Florida House, as well as a slate of openly-gay elected officials including Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers, Key West City Commissioner Teri Johnston, and Key West Police Chief Donnie Lee.
The morning session featured Democratic candidates running for statewide office, including openly-gay U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Burns, Attorney General candidate Dan Gelber and Florida Agricultural Commissioner candidate Eric Draper. Florida CFO and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink joined the proceedings via conference call, reiterating her support of LGBT issues.
Subsequent sessions featured the following highlights: Terry Flemming and Cathy James from Organizations United Together (OUT) revealed their goal of creating a single bureau that can be used to keep all statewide groups and organizations informed on issues affecting the LGBT community, a phone call from Harvey Milk associate Cleve Jones, who is organizing the October GLBT March on Washington and openly-gay Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who said she believes Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act will most likely be addressed in the beginning of 2010.
Central Florida was recognized as an important participant in the GLBT Caucus. The Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County, whose president, Rick Boylan, is also secretary of the Florida Democratic Party, will host the winter 2010 conference (dates TBD). Additionally, the Rainbow Democratic Club of Orange County will host the Caucus during the FDP’s Convention in October, as well as host the Caucus’ 2010 Summer Conference.