Travaris McCurdy

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Democratic incumbent, Florida House District 41

Public Service

  • Member, Florida House of Representatives, 2002-2006 and then again from 2012-2020

  • Legislative Assistant to Senator Randolph Bracy, 2016-2019

  • Legislative Assistant to Senator Geraldine F. “Geri” Thompson, 2014-2016


Occupation

State Legislator

Education

Florida A&M University, BA, Political Science

Religion

Baptist

State Rep. Travaris McCurdy, considered the incumbent for the newly redistricted House District 41 since it covers many of the communities in his current district, is facing a crowded Aug. 23 Democratic primary. While there is no Republican running in the district, the eventual Democratic winner will go up against the Green Party’s Robin Denise Harris in the November general election.


McCurdy was first elected in 2020, running unopposed for House District 46 in the general election after winning the Democratic primary. He had succeeded Bruce Antone, one of his opponents, who was termed out in 2020.


McCurdy, who serves on the Education and Employment Committee among others, and is a member of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, has been an outspoken advocate for minority voices in the House. In the past session, he supported women’s reproductive rights and opposed legislation making juvenile detention more punitive and people’s right to protest.


During a debate earlier this year over a bill that would limit workplace diversity training programs that discuss race, gender (the “Stop WOKE Act” that was later signed into law), McCurdy said that it was a series of measures — including banning protests, classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity and preventing transgender athletes from playing sports — aimed at suppressing minority speech.

“This is red meat,” he said. “As a Black man in this process, who happens to be elected to a body that frankly makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes, it’s an attempt to put the quote-unquote woke community back to sleep,” he said. “Privilege does exist. Racism does exist, [and] you’ve got to stop doing the Governor’s bidding, y’all. He can run his own campaign, but we as a body shouldn’t be doing his work.”


A recent Orlando Sentinel story about the race cited McCurdy’s protests in the House in April about Gov. Ron DeSantis’ redistricting plan that favored Republicans and diminished representation for minorities. McCurdy helped lead several members of the Black Caucus, who wore T-shirts that read “Stop the Black Attack,” in a sit-in on the House floor that temporarily suspended action on that plan. “When you talk about diminishing representation, taking away two minority seats, we’re going to lose that voice. Those are less resources that District 41 receives,” he told the Sentinel.


At the time, during the House session, McCurdy said: “We shouldn’t be here begging for representation in 2022. I’ve had enough of being kicked around in this building, in this chamber and still being expected to smile and shake your hands and engage in conversation with the same people who are trying to oppress my people.” While House Republicans condemned the action, with some calling for punishment including expulsion and jail, the GOP leaders didn’t take any action.


McCurdy earlier this year was also embroiled in an incident with a fellow Republican lawmaker. In February, during debate over the state’s 15-week abortion ban that was approved and signed into law, but is being challenged in court, Democrat Rep. Angie Nixon said that then Republican Rep. Cord Byrd “turned around and began antagonizing and cussing at Black Caucus members during the HB 5 protest in the gallery.” According to Florida Politics, she said that Byrd “mouthed off to Rep. McCurdy calling him a f***ing joke after mouthing to many of us ‘I hope you’re f***ing proud’ during the protests in the gallery. As if we had something to do with it.”

Byrd, who was appointed Florida’s secretary of state in May, denied cursing at McCurdy but apologized to him with the matter resolved. McCurdy told Florida Politics that Byrd seemed to want to “deliberately” provoke a confrontation with Black lawmakers. McCurdy said he believes Byrd’s fellow Republicans enable his behavior and sense of “White privilege. He gets a pass from his peers. The consensus is, this is what he does.”


McCurdy is a former chief legislative aide to state Sens. Geraldine Thompson and Randolph Bracy. He also served as a deputy political director for the political action committee, For Our Future, a left-of-center advocacy group.


McCurdy has received numerous endorsements from fellow lawmakers and organizations, including Bracy. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who is running for governor of Florida again, state Reps. Anna Eskamani, Angie Nixon, Michele Rayner and Carlos Smith, state Sen. Shevrin Jones, State Attorney Monique H. Worrell for the 9th Judicial Circuit Court, Planned Parenthood of Florida, Florida Education Association, Florida Professional Firefighters and the Service Employees International Union, among others.

— Dibya Sarkar