Today, one of the most courageous people on the Leon County Commission threw in the towel. Commissioner Bob Rackleff who would have faced a run-off against Kristin Dozier, a woman who is the vice president of a construction firm, decided not to push forward with a campaign into November. The odds of him overcoming Dozier in November did not look good. Dozier effectively won Tuesday's primary with 46-percent of the vote to Rackleff's 35-percent.
I was lucky enough to run into Bob this evening, along with his son, Durward. Bob is proud of all his kids, but is particular about singing the praises of his youngest who had the courage to come out in high school, and then lobby the local school board to adopt an anti-discrimination policy in the schools. Bob's love and admiration for his son was the thing that under girded his staunch support of the LGBT community. And it was that love for his son, and the many friends he'd made in the queer community, that gave him the freedom to speak out for our community, and stand up to the bigotry that would have derailed or weakened the Human Rights Ordinance. He has long been a champion of a clean environment having been sued by Texaco for his crusade to keep them from building a pipeline in neighboring Lloyd. In fact, that was one of the first long-form stories I worked on as a rookie reporter at WFSU in 1990. He has been an advocate for alternative energy, and was out in front speaking against the proposed off-shore oil drilling in the state legislature.
In short, Bob has done all that I would have ever wanted in a Leon County Commissioner. Many of us in District Five felt the same way. He was our Barney Frank. Unfortunately, that strong-willed no-holds-bar way of doing politics isn't "nice". And apparently, some of the people who once supported Bob were lured into voting for the candidate who maintains she has the same values, but she'll be nicer. I only hope "nicer" doesn't translate into the typical wishy-washy approach to politics that too many Democrats seem to take.
I wish Ms. Dozier luck on the Commission. She may find that those friends in the Chamber of Commerce who helped back her campaign might now want her to compromise her progressive credentials because that's not always "good for business."