Representative Shevrin Jones wants to be Florida’s incoming Senate leader. The Broward Democrat attended a fundraiser hosted by Rep. Carlos G. Smith last weekend in Central Florida.
Smith, Florida’s first LGBT Lantinx lawmaker, said this of Jones:
“I am proud to endorse Shevrin because as my colleague in the House he’s been a champion for civil rights, for public schools, for criminal justice reform and when he’s elected he’s going to make history as well as the first openly LGBTQ state senator,” said Smith, who represents house district 49 in Tallahassee.
The Miami Herald described Jones last year as a “private man living a very public life.” He’s been through a marriage, divorce and death of a sibling – all before the age of 35.
He came out as a gay man last year and, if elected, would become Florida’s first LGBT Senator.
“Being able to have that kind of authentic and effective voice in the Senate, we think could be the breakthrough that we need to finally create LGBT support in the South,” said Joe Saunders, a political director at Equality Florida.
Saunders served in the Florida House prior to Smith and Jones.
“When I got elected in 2013 there had never been LGBT people serving in the legislature,” Saunders said. “That was one of the reasons that I ran.”
There are 120 house districts in Florida. The senate is considered the upper house and has much fewer districts – 40. Jones is campaigning to upgrade his influence after serving his south Broward, north Miami-Dade district for four terms.
“When you have a seat at the table our issues are heard,” said Smith, who in the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub massacre has been a vocal advocate for gun control. “That’s why representation matters and why electing powerful, effective and strong LGBTQ leaders like Shevrin are so important.”
Jones will have to earn his Senate seat, Saunders said.
“We believe his campaign is extremely competitive,” said Saunders, who works out of Miami Beach for Equality Florida.
The campaign has ballooned to six candidates, including longtime Equality Florida foe and ex-Florida senator Daphne Campbell.
“This is a seat that has been a Democratic stronghold, won or lost in the Democratic primary in August, which is a lower turnout election so not as many voters come to the polls,” said Saunders, who added Campbell has a record of being a “visible, proud opponent of LGBT rights.”
“The contrasts of this race are stark,” he added.
Saunders said Jones has what it takes to win.
“He’s incredibly effective,” Saunders said. “He’s charismatic. He’s in a conservative, republican-led environment. He has passed transformative pieces of legislation because of how he navigates relationships. People like him up there.”
As of last August’s campaign finance reports, the Shevrin Jones campaign had raised $98,518. SFGN made repeated attempts to reach Rep. Jones for comment but the calls were not returned.
On his Instagram account, Jones is pictured at union rallies with Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport workers, joining forces with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio to provide hurricane relief for the Bahamas and participating with Miramar Mayor and Presidential candidate Wayne Messam at a job and career fair.