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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Later today at 6:30PM we will be hosting a virtual appropriations training and encourage everyone to participate! There is still time to register now at https://bit.ly/ApproTraining23 ...

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We know that Florida has declared war on Black people, our history + attempting to erase Black LGBTQ history and use our community as a pawn.

Absolutely not on my watch!! So, I’ve teamed up with @NBJContheMove this Black History Month to remind y’all that American history is Black history+Black history is queer af. #BlackHistoryisQueerAF
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It’s not too late! There is still time to register for our virtual appropriation training being hosted tomorrow at 6:30pm. Register now at http://bit.ly/ApproTraining23! ...

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Yesterday, I spent time with @bayareadreamdefenders and community. This is part of what I shared.

The other part is this- community and movement- that’s who and what keeps us safe. Every time our people are killed at the hands of state sanctioned violence we keep hearing the same thing “reform” or “compliance”. You can’t reform a system that’s operating how it was designed. There’s no amount of compliance that will make white supremacy care about Black lives. So it’s on us. It’s always been on us. ✊🏾♥️

📹: @thatsmylawyer
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I will always uplift our light and lives.

They are want us to focus on how they kill us (and there is time and space for that) but I will always focus on the divinity and humanity in us. ♥️ #REST INPOWER #tyrenichols #blacklivesmatter #justiceovereverything
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And that’s on period. ...

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