Michele Rayner has focused her career on defending others.
Now she will represent thousands as a Florida state representative.
“I am overwhelmed, joyous, happy. So happy for District 70. So happy for this historic win,” Rayner said.
Rayner often takes cases dealing with civil rights and racial issues.
She represented the family of Markeis McGlockton, who was shot and killed in a confrontation over a convenience store parking spot.
In that case, she got a first-hand look at how Florida’s stand your ground law can impact a case.
“So I think it’s incumbent on me to keep in my mind that when I am drafting and looking at appropriations that these are real things that are going to affect someone's life,” she said.
Rayner has been front and center for the Black Lives Matter movement and wants to build off the changes she says that’s already caused.
She says the COVID-`19 crisis is showing inequities in her district involving affordable housing, health care, and unemployment.
“People are in a moment where they are trying to figure out how they are going to feed their families.”
Rayner is also making history as one of the first openly LGTBQ women of color elected to the statehouse.
“It’s beautiful that we’ve been able to get to this point in 2020, but also understand that people do look up to me, so there’s a way that you have to hold yourself.”
Because there is no Republican running, Rayner is effectively elected and ready to go to work.
District 70 covers parts of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.