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Tampa mayor bans official city travel to NC

Posted at 3:40 PM, Apr 12, 2016

Tampa won't be doing official business in North Carolina.

"Bigotry and discrimination in any form is wrong, and we're not going to participate by spending our dollars in your state,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said.

"I have told our people unless it's life changing circumstances, we're not traveling to North Carolina, and we're not traveling to Mississippi,” he added.

Buckhorn sent out an e-mail to the city's chief of staff just days ago banning travel for city business to the Tar Heel state after it passed anti-gay legislation known as the "Bathroom Bill."

"I don't give a damn what they do in North Carolina, but in my city that's not ever going to happen,” Buckhorn said.

He is one of 12 city mayors who have formed a coalition called "Mayors Against Discrimination."

He addressed North Carolina's house bill two at his state of city address at the old Fort Hesterly Armory.

The message of inclusion resonates with former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor.

"I was born and raised here -- very proud of this city and one of the reasons for that pride is the way we embrace our diversity,” she said.

Fallout from the anti-gay legislation prompted Bruce Springsteen to cancel a Greensboro, North Carolina, concert. Singer Bryan Adams also canceled a concert in Mississippi, where a similar law passed.

The NBA is also condemning North Carolina's move, reconsidering its 2016 all-star game originally planned for Charlotte.

Tampa's and St. Petersburg's mayors have both invited PayPal to consider relocating here after nixing a 400 job Charlotte expansion. 

"I agree with a lot of these bans that are going on. You know if someone is discriminatory like the state of North Carolina, hit them where it hurts and that's in the pocketbooks,” Castor said.

Which is what the mayor says Tampa will do out of principle.

"What we're trying to do as mayors is send the message that in our cities, I mean, we don't tolerate it. We won't travel to places that discriminate,” said Buckhorn.