Voters in Key West on Tuesday elected
Teri Johnston as mayor, making her the first openly gay woman elected
mayor in a major Florida city.
Johnston, 67, is a two-term city
commissioner who runs a contracting business with her partner of 34
years, Dar Castillo.
Johnston was unaware that she had made
history, telling the Miami Herald that it wasn't a big deal in
Key West, a historically gay friendly city.
“It really isn't,” Johnston
said. “It's such a different inclusive environment in Key
West, those things don't come to mind. Good government comes to
Key West had one of the first openly
gay public officials in the United States with the election of Mayor
Richard Heyman, who served from 1983 to 1985 and from 1987 to 1989.
He died of AIDS-related complications at the age of 59. The city's
current police chief, Donnie Lee, is openly gay.
Wayne Dapser, a local attorney who has
lived in Key West for 19 years, said that Johnston's sexuality wasn't
“The campaign was run not with that
being mentioned and it's interesting she got elected on what she
could do and not because of who she was,” he said. “That didn't
matter and it never has and never should.”
Stratton Pollitzer of Equality Florida
said that Johnston's election was an important milestone for the LGBT
“LGBT people are still very
underrepresented in elected office and bring an all too rare
perspective to the political discourse, which is evidenced by the
fact that Teri Johnston is the first lesbian candidate ever elected
mayor in our state,” Pollitzer said.
Johnston will be sworn in on November