History-making Florida woman Ashley Brundage could become state’s first trans elected official

Ashley T Brundage attends 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards at New York Hilton Midtown on May 06, 2022 in New York City. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty mages)

Ashley Brundage hopes to make history by becoming the first-ever trans person to become an elected official in the state of Florida, where she vows to ensure inclusion is kept vital.

Florida Democrat Brundage, who received a “Spirit of the Community Award” from the Florida Commission on the Status of Women in 2022, qualified to run for the state house at the end of last week.

If successful in the 20 August primary, the mother-of-two hopes to make history not only by being the first trans person elected to public office in the capital city of Florida, but also by ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is kept alive. 

Her desire to prioritise DEI follows Florida Republican Ron DeSantis taking to X/Twitter in March where he wrote “Florida is where DEI goes to die…”

Interestingly, in 2022, she received a “Spirit of the Community Award” from the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.

To mark the occasion, Gov. DeSantis himself wrote a letter to her saying, “I am confident that you serve as a shining example of a positive role model in your community… Thank you for your selfless contributions to fellow Floridians,” reports Fox 13 Tampa Bay.

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‘It’s time to shift the conversation’

She told PinkNews: “It’s time to shift the conversation about culture war topics to the things affecting all 22 million Floridians like out of control insurance costs, empowerment for small businesses and getting the government out of making decisions about people’s bodies.”

Brundage added: “My candidacy in FL HD 65 has a really great chance to flip a seat from red to blue since Florida families are over the super majority failing to act. The district has 30 per cent independents and 32 per cent democrats, which gives us all the hope this November.”

Speaking to a Tampa radio station Brundage shared, as reported by Orlando Weekly: “While I’m going to be making history on something like me and my personal life, which really has no impact on anything, but what I think is even more history-making is that I used to be the DEI person for PNC Bank and 60,000 employees as their national president of diversity, equity, inclusion.” 

She added that inclusion “shouldn’t be scary” but instead seen as a “opportunity for us to learn and grow as people” before sharing that she was homeless when she became a became a part-time bank teller at PNC Bank. 

Fox 13 Tampa Bay reports that she is running on three issues: lowering the cost of insurance, protecting small business from high overhead costs, and the right to choose – hoping the presence of an abortion amendment on the ballot will drive turnout for her.

Brundage must first face a challenge from Nathan Kuipers in the 20 August primary in order to become a Democratic candidate for House District 65. 

Florida is one of the least LGBTQ+ friendly states due to laws such as the Parental Rights in Education law, better known as “Don’t Say Gay”, which was expanded from the third grade to the eighth grade last year. 

In response, the state law was challenged and a settlement now means students and teachers will be able to speak about sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida. 

PinkNews has contacted Ashley Brundage for comment. 

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