Most analysts agree, Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz is the odds on favorite to win U.S. House District 23.

Moskowitz is running for the seat being vacated by seven-term Congressman Ted Deutch. It’s a district that leans Democrat and includes coastal communities from Fort Lauderdale to Boca Raton – home to a large population of queer folks of all stripes.

So how will Moskowitz, a clean-cut, heterosexual, married father of two boys, respond to the needs of his LGBT constituents?

Florida Senator Shevrin Jones, the state’s first Black gay senator, used a basketball analogy to describe that allyship.

“Jared is more than just my closest friend, he’s an accomplice to the LGBTQ community,” said Jones. “Not only will he walk the walk for us, but I know he will get in the paint with us, that’s just who he is, a hands on leader.”

The recent brouhaha over Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law  – aka “Don’t Say Gay” – is case in point.

“The policy that came out singled out only the gay community,” Moskowitz said. “I think most parents would agree that we don’t want any kind of sexual conversation with our little children in school. Any kind. That is reserved for parents. But to single out only part of that conversation and say this is the part we don’t want, that is where the divisiveness comes into this issue that didn’t need to exist.”

Moskowitz, 41, has steadily climbed the ladder of public service, starting as a commissioner in his hometown of Parkland and then serving as a state representative in Tallahassee. In the aftermath of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Moskowitz led gun violence reform efforts, enacting historic legislation that raised the age limit for firearm purchases from 18 to 21 and put in place red flag laws.

“He’ll be a force to be reckoned with on the gun issue,” said Jason King, a lobbyist, who managed Dean Trantalis’ winning 2018 campaign for Fort Lauderdale mayor. “We have to bring civility back to politics and Jared is a guy who knows how to work across the aisle. He has the aptitude to deal with the gun issue and to work constructively with Republicans in Congress and we need more people in government like that.”

Moskowitz credits his late father for the ability to build coalitions. Michael Moskowitz, an influential Democratic party committeeman, died in January from pancreatic cancer. 

“I grew up in a Democratic family and we only supported Democrats,” said Moskowitz. “At the same time, I remember my dad telling me, ‘You’re not going to just work with Democrats in life, Jared, you gotta work with people you disagree with and so long as you’re making progress and helping people in the community, you work with whoever you need to work with. You stay true to who you are, but don’t decide you are not going to work with 50% of the people because you don’t agree on 100% of the items.’”

And so with that philosophy in mind, Moskowitz went to work for Governor Ron DeSantis. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, DeSantis turned to Moskowitz to direct the state’s division of emergency management. 

Dubbed the “Master of Disaster,” Moskowitz implemented pandemic programs, which included supplying masks and gowns to hospitals, setting up testing sites in tents and pharmacies and going into homes of the immunocompromised and Holocaust survivors to get vaccine shots into arms.

The rapid response, Moskowitz believes, avoided a prolonged shutdown that other states endured.

“Florida is experiencing a sort of renaissance,” Moskowitz said. “The demand to move to Florida is unprecedented and I think, quite frankly, that’s because of how we handled COVID. Compared to other states, people really liked what we did here.”

Fun Fact: Florida has 27 congressional districts. In the 117th U.S. Congress, the Florida delegation includes 16 Republicans, 10 Democrats and one vacant seat. Overall, there are 435 seats in Congress with each state’s representation determined by population. There are 221 Democrats, 212 Republicans and two vacant seats.