Gay Tampa Candidate Seeks House Seat

Mike Reedy (Facebook)

Another Equality Florida soldier is making the transition from political operative to political candidate.

This time it’s Mike Reedy, a gay man, who is campaigning for the Florida House of Representatives in District 63. The district encompasses northern Hillsborough County, including parts of Tampa and the University of South Florida. For Reedy, born and raised in Hillsborough County, it is a perfect fit.

The first in his family to attend college, Reedy says he is campaigning for the working class.

“I understand the struggle of the working and middle class because I live it,” he said.

While working for Equality Florida, the state’s largest civil rights organization, Reedy served as a business outreach manager.

“Economic growth is not just about growth, but smart growth, growth that needs to put people first by investing in Florida’s future,” Reedy said. “That’s the type of leadership our kids and families need and that’s the type of leadership I will provide.”

Reedy, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Republican representative Shawn Harrison, who took the seat in 2014. The district is considered by most analysts as a swing seat. President Barack Obama carried Hillsborough County in the 2012 general election.

When the Florida legislature adjourned three days early from its 2015 session, Reedy blasted the Republican leadership and demanded Harrison return his paycheck.

“If you decide to stop doing your job, you get fired,” Reedy said in a news release. “When the going got tough (Harrison) quit. In the private sector, if you decide to stop doing your job, you get fired. We can’t fire you until November 2016, but we can demand you repay us for deciding to not do your job.”

SFGN spoke with Reedy last weekend in Tampa at the Florida Democratic Party’s LGBTA Caucus Summer Gala. Reedy, 24, attended the event with his partner of three year years, Doug Parton. When asked if he thought he would be attacked for running as an openly gay candidate, Reedy said he hoped not, but added, “We’re ready for it, if it happens.”

Reedy joins Orange County Democrat and fellow Equality Florida advisor Carlos Guillermo Smith in the lavender race for the Florida House of Representatives. Smith, a gay Latino man, is campaigning for House seat 49. Presently, David Richardson (D-Miami Beach) is the legislature’s lone openly gay representative.

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