Even though he’s Florida’s first openly gay state legislator, (D) Rep. David Richardson, Miami Beach, would rather be known as a legislator first.
“I certainly don’t run away from the history, but when I came here I said I wasn’t going to be a gay legislator. I’m a legislator who happens to be gay. It’s a part of who I am but it really hasn’t factored into the work I’m doing.”
First elected in 2012, Richardson said he works on LGBT issues, including trying to ban gay conversion therapy throughout the state, but it’s not his only focus. In 2015, he was able to get the state to end its ban on gay adoption by adding an amendment to a pro-adoption bill. “I was able to get that done through the process.”
But it’s through his own presence in Tallahassee that Richardson also hopes to change minds on LGBT individuals. “I think I have changed a few hearts and minds. [Other state representatives and senators] have seen my work and people know I’m so much more than just a gay legislator. They see me as a businessman who understands business. They see me as a CPA who understands finance. They understand I can do the work other than just LGBT rights. “I was able to get three bills passed in my first four years. That’s quite a bit for a person in the minority party.”