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Barclay Harless touts LGBTQ endorsements in St. Pete Council race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

(UPDATED) Just in time for the Pride Parade later this month, aspiring St. Petersburg City Council District 2 candidate Barclay Harless is touting endorsements from several members of the LGBTQ community.

“Barclay has served on the Pinellas Charter Review Commission, and I saw his leadership abilities and his pragmatic approach to solving challenges. I look forward to working with him as a fellow Pinellas City official,” said Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith, who is serving as a grand marshal for the St. Pete Pride Parade.

“Barclay has community, political and business service from the St. Pete Chamber of Commerce, the state legislature, and serving on the Equality Means Business Advisory Board. This has uniquely prepared Barclay to lead in City Hall,” says Equality Florida’s Ed Lally, another grand marshal for this month’s parade.

“We need a passionate leader who will naturally do the right thing,” says Todd Richardson, Pinellas County Development Officer for Equality Florida. “Barclay has been with our community, and he won’t need to be persuaded to come around.”

Harless is running against realtor Brandi Gabbard in the race to succeed Jim Kennedy, who is term-limited out of office this fall.

“I am confident that Mr. Harless and myself have mirroring positions regarding equality for the LGBT members of our community,” said Gabbard. “I am proud to live in a city that celebrates diversity and welcomes the inclusion of all people. The insinuation that I need to ‘be persuaded to come around’ to these issues is uncharacteristic of who I am and is honestly untrue. When elected I will work diligently with the LGBT community and am looking forward to participating in St Pete Pride next week!”

“I don’t want to just be a strong ally, I am a fighter for equality,” says Harless, who is currently serving on the Equality Florida “Equality Means Business” advisory board. “Work is not done until no person feels threatened or unwelcome in St. Pete and I won’t allow any protections to be rolled back. I don’t have an agenda other than human dignity and respect for all people, and I will be a fierce advocate on City Council. Businesses thrive when they are inclusive, and diversity is recognized as a community strength.”

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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