ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The controversial candidate running for St. Pete city council is responding to his recent remarks he’s made about the LGBTQ community and his past that has come to light.
Chico Cromartie said he’s here to serve all, whether you agree with him or not on his views about homosexuality.
“It’s okay to disagree with something as such as homosexuality. I don’t think it warrants to be called a hater or a bigot or anything. It’s okay to disagree and have a different opinion,” Cromartie said.
Cromartie who is running for District 7, has been asked to end his campaign by the Republican party of Pinellas County, who neither supports or has endorsed him.
“No, I’m not stepping down. They don’t control me. I serve the people. I don’t serve the Republican party,” he said. “I stand where I stand on it and it’s okay to disagree, people disagree in parties all the time.”
Cromartie is also addressing his past.
He’s served time for various charges including robbery and aggravated assault.
Cromartie said he was a troubled teen and he’s changed and his past should not be a reflection.
“I think the American people, they understand mistakes. They understand reconciliation. They understand people can and do change. I’ve demonstrated that throughout my entire life,” he said.
LGBTQ advocates said his views are not welcome.
“He has nothing to offer district 7, I’m a voter in District 7,” said Nadine Smith, with Equality Florida. “Basically these are ugly comments being made by a candidate who is at the absolute bottom that nobody is paying any attention to and this was a grab for attention.”
Cromartie said he’s not backing down.
“It’s okay not to be homosexual. We got to let our kids know, it’s okay not to be homosexual. It’s okay to disagree with it. It’s okay to say you disagree with it. It’s nothing wrong with that and you’re just exercising your American right when you do that,” Cromartie said.
“I wholeheartedly condemn Mr. Cromartie’s rhetoric. It is not emblematic of my values or the values of the Republican Party. The Republican Party believes in being the party of opportunity, and providing all Americans, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, with the opportunity to live the American dream and fulfill the pursuit of happiness, no matter what form that may take. Mr. Cromartie’s disappointing statements clearly run contrary to these principles. Mr. Cromartie, although a registered Republican, is running in a non-partisan race, and the Pinellas GOP has neither supported nor endorsed his candidacy. As Chairman of the Pinellas GOP, it would be my preference that he issue a statement apologizing for his actions and ending his fruitless campaign.”In a statement from the Pinellas GOP Chairman, Todd A. Jennings, Esq.