Ashley Brundage announces run for state House

Ashley Brundage. (Photos via Brundage’s campaign.)

TAMPA | Entrepreneur, mother and LGBTQ+ advocate Ashley Brundage announced her run for state House District 65 April 12, a race that could make history if she were to be elected this year.

The Hillsborough County district is currently represented by Karen Gonzalez Pittman, a part of Florida’s Republican supermajority responsible for passing Florida’s explicitly anti-LGBTQ+ laws. In contrast, Brundage is a Democrat who could become the state’s first transgender lawmaker.

“Earlier this year I was thinking about moving to New York, because there are business opportunities for my company there, but the legislative session this year with all of its culture war conversations was really upsetting me,” she says. “There are actual issues that people are facing.

“The legislative body spent more than 100 hours debating culture war topics,” she continues. “They were talking about [Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives], forcing universities to fire people and debating other people’s existence and right to be themselves or have access to medical care. I was going to knock off a potential run as a thing for me but now, I’m in.”

Brundage has an extensive history of advocacy in and outside of Tampa Bay, work which has been recognized by the City of Tampa, the Florida Diversity Council, Out & Equal, Watermark and more.  She previously ran an iteration of the Tampa Bay LGBT Chamber, helping to secure its bid to host the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce convention in 2019, and has served in various capacities for both organizations as well as others like GLAAD.

She says her campaign has priorities like lowering the costs of insurance, economically empowering small businesses and helping secure bodily autonomy for Floridians. The state Supreme Court ruled April 1 that Amendment 4, which seeks to create a constitutional amendment protecting Floridians’ freedom to access abortion, will appear on the ballot this November.

Brundage, who is pro-choice, supports it. “People should have access to the resources they need to care for their bodies,” she says. “The government shouldn’t be involved in those decisions.”

As for the LGBTQ+ history her campaign could make, Brundage says the state is long overdue for transgender representation. As of 2023, Florida is estimated to have over 22.5 million residents, she notes, “and by the law of averages, that means we probably have more than 200,000 residents who are transgender, gender nonbinary or gender nonconforming. We should have elected a transgender legislator by now, but we haven’t.

“I have been involved in the community on many levels and I was thinking someone else would run, but real leadership is when you take ownership and step up and showcase what you can do,” she continues. “So that’s what I’m going to do. I feel like it’s time.”

LPAC, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary candidates to public office, agrees. The organization endorsed Brundage following her announcement.

“In the face of relentless anti-LGBTQ legislation in Florida, Ashley Brundage’s voice is not just important — it’s essential,” LPAC Executive Director Janelle Perez said in a statement. “We are witnessing an unprecedented wave of policies that undermine the rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ Floridians.

“LPAC is proud to give our full support to Ashley, an incredible activist and the first trans candidate for the Florida House who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to fighting against these injustices,” she continued. “Her election to the Florida House would be a significant step forward in our ongoing battle for equality and queer representation, sending a powerful message to the LGBTQ+ community and its allies that progress is possible, even in the face of daunting challenges.”

Brundage, who says she’s proud to have the endorsement, adds that it’s time for transgender Floridians “to have a seat at the table.”

“We are constantly on the menu because it’s an easy way to generate buzz for culture wars for Republicans who are funded by insurance agencies and other industries,” she notes. “It’s all about identity politics, and if I’m in the room that’s going to change the way they have those conversations.”

Brundage isn’t the only LGBTQ+ Democrat hoping to flip House District 65, as Nathan Kuipers, a Tampa activist and educator who is gay, is also running. Should both or additional candidates continue in the race, Florida’s Democratic primary is scheduled for August 20.

For more information about Brundage and her campaign, visit

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