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Gwen Graham declares support for Competitive Workplace Act

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham marked the start of “Pride Month” Thursday by declaring her reaffirmation of support for gay rights and statewide protections.

Graham expressly announced she would push hard for the “Florida Competitive Workforce Act,” which would extend nondiscrimination practices to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer Floridians. The bill has been introduced in several successive sessions, gaining increasing co-sponsors and backing by business groups, but has never passed a chamber.

She also vowed to sign an executive order as governor to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Graham, a former member of Congress from Tallahassee, faces Winter Park affordable housing developer Chris King and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in a Democratic primary run for the 2018 election. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is the only major Republican running.

“I am proud to live in a state with vibrant LGBTQ communities from Key West to Pensacola,” Graham said in a news release issued by her campaign. “Despite facing institutionalized discrimination and bigotry, and the heartbreak of the terrorist attack at Pulse, LGBT Floridians have never given up in their fight to make Florida a more equal and welcoming home for everyone. This month, we celebrate the progress we have made and recommit ourselves to the fight for equality.”

She stated that in 2011 Republican Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order against discrimination based on race, gender, creed, color, or national origin — but omitting sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Driven by Equality Florida, every major city in our state has now passed a human rights ordinance — but almost half of all Floridians are still subject to legal discrimination across the state,” Graham said. “As governor, I will prioritize passing legislation that protects all Floridians, and I will sign an executive order adding sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes against discrimination in the governor’s office and all agencies under the direction of the governor.”

While in Congress, Gwen Graham co-sponsored the Equality Act, a federal law to ban discrimination, and she earned a 100 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign.

“Everyone, no matter who they love or how they identify, should feel safe and respected in our state,” Graham said.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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