Rochelle Koff, Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau, November 6, 2014 — Looking ahead to the 2015 legislative session, Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce has hired a team of bipartisan political operatives to push for a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

President Obama’s top 2012 Florida strategist, Ashley Walker, will be campaign manager of the coalition. She’ll be joined by longtime Republican lobbyist Towson Fraser, who was communications director for former House Speaker Allan Bense; Ann Herberger, a Miami-based Republican fundraiser and an advisor to former Gov. Jeb Bush; and Christina Johnson, a Tallahassee public relations executive who worked with the Republican Party of Florida and the Republican National Committee.

Johnson said she is not aware of any new proposed legislation concerning a ban against sexual orientation being filed yet for the 2015 session.

A bill to eliminate sexual orientation and gender identity failed to pass the 2014 legislature. The House version was sponsored by Rep. Holly Merrill Raschein, a Key Largo Republican, and Rep. Joe Saunders, an openly gay Democrat from Orlando, who was defeated on Election Day. A Senate version of the measure was sponsored by Sen. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington.

Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce is a nonprofit organization that incorporated in March and supports passing The Competitive Workforce Act, which would update state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

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