On Wednesday, Equality Florida announced that Former State Representative Joe Saunders is rejoining the organization’s staff as the new Senior Political Director. In this role Saunders will be charged with leading the organization’s civic engagement programs, pro-LGBTQ mobilization efforts, and electoral programs. After nearly a ten year tenure serving as Equality Florida’s Field Director, Saunders ran for and won an east Orlando seat in the Florida House of Representatives, making history in 2012 when he along with David Richardson of Miami Beach, became the first openly gay Floridians elected to the legislature.
Following his tenure in the Florida House, Saunders joined the staff of the Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization. In this role he held leadership positions in LGBTQ campaigns across the U.S. including successful efforts to defeat hundred’s of anti-LGBTQ bills filed in Southern state legislatures and efforts to elect pro-equality leaders in municipal, state and federal elections. In 2016, Joe helped lead the successful effort in North Carolina to defeat anti-LGBTQ incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory – a champion of the notoriously anti-LGBTQ HB 2.
“I can’t think of a more important place to be in 2018 than Florida,” Saunders said. “Florida is poised to be the first breakthrough Southern state in the work to ensure LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination. As the largest swing state in the country, Florida will hold a defining role in the national response to the politics of Washington, and we have hugely important races for U.S. Senate, Governor, Congress and a chance to reshape our state legislature. My time working nationally has reinforced for me that Equality Florida is one of the smartest and most capable LGBTQ organizations doing this work. I’m excited to be back.”
“Joe Saunders is a proven LGBTQ and progressive leader who brings an incredible wealth of skill, knowledge and talent to our work,” said Equality Florida Deputy Director and EQFL PAC Chair Stratton Pollitzer. “We stand at the edge of incredible opportunity for progress even as we see new and emboldened attacks coming from Washington and some leaders in our state Capitol. Under Joe’s leadership, Equality Florida stands ready to hold elected leaders accountable at the ballot and to lift up those who stand on the right side of history.”