Castor focused on keeping promises as nation recognizes many firsts

Jane Castor basked Wednesday in the glow of becoming the first female, openly gay mayor of a southeastern city, landing on the front pages of national news websites and being interviewed on a cable news channel.

"It sends a resounding message to our community," Castor said Tuesday night before a crowd of cheering supporters. "No, it sends a message to the nation, that Tampa celebrates its diversity and lifts everyone up."

She stood on stage with her two sons and partner, Ana.

"It is a shame that anything has to be made of it," Castor said during an interview Wednesday. "The significance of that is not lost on me, as far as being a role model for other young people out in the community."

Castor is turning now to her agenda, emerging from a bruising campaign with a clear mandate to take the city in her direction.

At first, she will target things everyone notices every day. 

"People were focused on what my vision was and my plans for the issues that affect all of our citizens," Castor said.

Thankfully for her, the new transportation sales tax will give her a pot of $275 million a year to at least start fixing Tampa's transportation issues.

"I want to look at getting some quick wins," she said. "Getting some roads paved, putting in motion a sidewalk plan that starts at the schools and goes out."

She also pledges to speed up the streetcar expansion and install brighter neighborhood streetlights. 

Where you won't see changes is so-called Vinikville, the Lightning owner's Water Street project.

"I think it is going to be a jewel in the crown of our city," she said.

She also promises a stable city hall, saying the chiefs of police and fire will stay. She will evaluate other department heads over time. Why make dramatic changes from the previous mayor, who has a sky-high approval and whose endorsement partially helped her beat David Straz by 50 points?

"I have a great working relationship with just about all of the department heads," she said. "I can tell you that you never know what that job entails until you sit in that chair."

Since she's been a first before, she has her own example to keep in mind.

"When I was appointed chief of police I was the first female. What I said at the end of my tenure was, I did not want to be remembered as the first female chief of police. I wanted to be remembered as a good chief," Castor said.