In a perfect world politics is about building better communities and looking out for those who are too often overlooked.
While Florida politics are far from perfect a new group is working to bring those ideals closer to reality. The Florida Jewish Democratic Caucus, long a political player in Tallahassee, is expanding by opening chapters across the state.
The Broward County Democratic Jewish Caucus is setting goals, naming leaders, and forming committees. One of their goals is connecting with the LGBT community. Beau Simon is chair of the LGBT Outreach Committee.
“We plan on focusing on issues facing Jewish people within the LGBTQ and how we fit in,” Simon said.
Awareness of common struggles and fighting efforts to roll back hard-fought victories are key to Simon’s plans.
“My agenda is to make sure we protect and promote marriage equality, equal rights, and most importantly educate other members of the caucus and Jewish community on why it is important to recognize and defend members of the LGBTQ community who also identify as Jewish.”
Simon hopes his committee and the caucus will work with other local groups to reach common political and community goals.
“I plan on having a strong relationship with the Dolphin Democrats and ensuring our partnerships last as long as we both continue to caucus,” he said.
Another goal is defending Israel.
“While being home to the Jewish people, it’s also one of the most gay-friendly places in the entire world,” Simon said.
State Rep. Rick Stark agreed, saying now is the right moment in history to expand the state caucus to local levels.
“Rise in anti-Semitism, marginalization of Israel, and the growth of neo-fascism on the right are all part of the reason for us coming together,” Stark said. “This was recognized in particular by members of the Jewish Legislative Caucus Democrats in Tallahassee.”
Stark said this caucus will be an ally to many.
“This caucus will work with the other caucuses: Black, Hispanic, LGBT, etc. We are stronger together,” he said. “As Democrats, we need to elect people sympathetic to our caucus, but also candidates that reflect the values we commonly hold as Democrats.”
The LGBT community had many legal victories over the past few years but always is looking for strong political partners. Simon said to count his caucus in.
“I want it to be known that the Jewish community stands with the LGBTQ community and acknowledges and recognizes our place in both communities.”