Shevrin Jones Likely to Be First LGBTQ Florida State Senator

Wednesday August 19, 2020

Shevrin Jones
Shevrin Jones  (Source:shevrinjones/Instagram)

Shevrin Jones has won the Democratic primary for a Florida state Senate seat, and will likely become the first openly LGBTQ person ever elected to the Florida state Senate come November.

Currently, Jones is one of just three openly LGBTQ members of the Florida state House. The victory is especially notable given two of Jones' opponents had a history of anti-LGBTQ statements or votes, and Jones faced several homophobic attacks throughout his campaign. Senate District 35 is heavily Democratic, making Jones the heavy favorite for victory in the general election.

"Shevrin shattered a long-standing political barrier for LGBTQ candidates in Florida and did so while running against opponents who attack our community — and that is history-making," said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, which has invested heavily in Jones's campaign.

"He won the trust of constituents through his people-centered work and legislation while in the state House, ensuring the homophobic attacks on him would fail and even backfire. As a state senator, Shevrin will continue to be a role model and inspiration for LGBTQ young people — and especially Black LGBTQ youth — who too rarely see people like them in office," Parker continued. "Florida voters chose wisely, and we are thrilled to have worked so closely with Shevrin throughout his campaign."

Among the issues important to Jones's campaign, the candidate supports expanding funding for public education, a $15/hour minimum wage, an increase in affordable housing options, LGBTQ protections, criminal justice system reform, and promoting Florida's network of small businesses.

"As a Florida native, born and raised in Miami Gardens (Carol City), who has called West Park home for nearly two decades, I know firsthand the challenges that you and our neighbors face," states Jones. "Together, we can continue building the people-powered movement for equity in this state. Together, we can ensure Florida is a state in which all can thrive."

Last week, voters in Jones' district were sent homophobic text messages saying, "The Miami Herald reported that Shevrin Jones was discriminated against for recent homosexual contact." The text included a link to a webpage unaffiliated with Jones' campaign — ShevJones.com — and copied an old Miami Herald article reporting on Jones being denied the opportunity to donate blood because he is gay. Jones had also been the target of at least one homophobic attack by a local radio host.

Among Jones' opponents was Miami Gardens Councilmember Erhabor Ighodaro, whose campaign slogan was "Families First." In one campaign speech, Ighodaro criticizes Democratic party "values" and claims "there is an image that God says a marriage should look like, that families should look like." In a 2019 book called "Word Is Enough," Ighodaro and a co-author wrote, "If you don't have the spiritual fortitude to see the handwriting on the wall, we hope it is not difficult for you to see visual reminders of our disobedience like mass shootings, suicide, depression, pandemic of drug use, malnutrition, genetic decadence, disease, homosexuality, sexual immorality, teenage pregnancy, rape and warmongering (even Stevie Wonder can see that!)."

Another opponent, Daphne Campbell, voted against same-sex adoption and co-sponsored a so-called "bathroom bill" targeting trans people while a member of the Florida state House. Defending her votes, she said, "The gay people have their rights. I have my rights."

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