Meet Michele

Michele Rayner made history in Florida — and she’s just getting started.

Civil rights and social justice attorney Michele Rayner made history in 2020 when she was elected as the first openly queer Black member of the Florida legislature and immediately established herself as one of the strongest advocates for underserved communities. In her first term, Rep. Rayner has brought back resources to communities in the Tampa Bay Area by making legislative alliances across the aisle while challenging the Governor and her colleagues in the Florida Legislature. Now, she’s ready to do more for her constituents by bringing their fight back to Tallahassee. 

Michele was raised by a family of changemakers in Pinellas County. Her parents both integrated the University of South Florida in the early 1960s, with her mother going on to become one of the first Black social workers in St. Petersburg and her father successfully putting himself through engineering school while working in a warehouse. Her parents established themselves as community leaders and set an example for Michele with their dedication to service.

After law school, Michele joined the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s office, a position she was drawn to because she felt it was where she could do the most good for the most vulnerable in her community. While serving as a public defender, she learned the importance of truly listening to and steadfastly advocating for clients who have limited agency.

Michele was called to ensure justice again when she became an attorney for Markeis McGlockton’s family, working alongside civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Markeis was shot and killed in an altercation in a Clearwater parking lot, reigniting the debate over Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law 6 years after the death of Trayvon Martin. During the 2019 trial, the killer was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The experience made it clear to Michele that running for the legislature could help her do more to fight unjust laws like Stand Your Ground and prevent future tragedies from occurring.

Growing up, Michele’s father always told her: “Help others, do the right thing and most of all, always keep your head up high.” To this day, Michele keeps her head up and will continue to do so as a leader for her constituents, ensuring an equitable recovery from COVID, protecting voting rights, and demanding real justice for underserved communities.

Michele currently lives in St. Petersburg with her wife Bianca and their dogs.

Show Your Support

Michele is running a grassroots, people-powered campaign. Make a contribution to her campaign today! If you’ve saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately.

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Happy Memorial Day from the Office of Rep. Rayner-Goolsby! Today is dedicated to remembering those who have served our country. To anyone who has lost a loved one or is serving, we are honoring you. ...

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For all the mothers and the mothers-at-heart, if you’ve lost a child, lost a mother, or are yearning to be a mother, we are thinking of you today and every day. ...

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ALL OF THIS!! And I’m done talking about it. Love y’all for real! 🫶🏾🫶🏾

Repost from @annaforflorida

The internet is a beautiful thing, but it’s also a complete cesspool of misinformation & disinformation. 😵‍💫

Please don’t fall for it and ask if you’re not sure of something, especially if it involves Florida. I’ve seen way too many things get spinned and dramatized — often by folks who don’t have the best intentions and intentionally mislead for clout and/or political gain.

I also want to remind folks that *many* Republicans voted no on some of the most awful and disgusting bills, and that is 100% due to YOUR advocacy, your phone calls and efforts to hold even the most unlikely politicians accountable. Every bad bill that attacked marginalized communities had BIPARTISAN opposition with Democrats holding the line. The only really bad bill that had Democrats break away was on vouchers (which is definitely concerning but part of a much bigger challenge) and then of course we struggle on stopping corporate tax issues (which I am working on getting more Democrats on board with).

Keep up the faith and fight and also take care of yourself, cause we need folks in this work longterm! Much love to everyone who asked about this and I’ll link to this article in our IG story too. 🫶🏽

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