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Michael Howson: 'Cynthia Busch Fired Me Because I Am Black and Gay'

For the first time since Cynthia Busch, acting chair of the Broward Democratic Executive Committee, dismissed Michael Howson, the DEC's former executive director has spoken out.

Michael Howson
Howson sent out an email to 30 prominent Democrats Thursday, giving his take on how and why he lost his job. The list of recipients included Henry Crespo, Alan Clendenin, Hazelle Rogers, Corey Shearer, Christine Jones, Sen. Nan Rich and Leslie Wimes.

Howson insists he was a victim of discriminaion when he was sacked earlier this month, and calls for her resignation.

Here's the full text of Howson's email:

"I WAS the first black, openly gay executive director of the Broward Democratic Party. And then Cyntha Busch fired me ...

"At the beginning of May I was chosen by the chair of the Broward Democratic Party to fill the vacancy of our sole employee position. From the very first day that Chairman (Mitch) Ceasar announced that I would succeed Ms. Tamara Ayon executive director of the party, Mrs. Cynthia Busch (first vice chair, now acting chair) fought it tooth and nail. 

"The chair was confident in me because I was groomed by the previous executive director, I've been a DEC precinct committeeman, a board member for the local Black caucus and LGBT caucus as well as an activist and professional organizer for the past four years. 

"Yet, Mrs. Busch immediately asserted I was unqualified; she fought to change my job, effectively relegating me to the role of a secretary, reducing my pay so that Travis Perron could be hired as the "political director". Now that Mitch has taken leave to run for our county clerk of courts, she has leaped at the chance to get rid of me. 

"Some say this is just 'politics as usual,' because I’m "Mitch's guy"; but when I joined the DEC in 2012, it was under Mrs. Busch's leadership; I voted for her over Mitch. Even as late as last year, still considering myself a supporter of hers, I worked to get her presentation opportunities at the black and LGBT caucuses when she was running the Children's Services Council campaign. 

"Mrs. Busch claims that firing me is a matter of funding, that "the party simply cannot afford" my salary; yet she is paying her chosen (heterosexual,  Caucasian) man approximately ten thousand dollars more than my salary to do the job that our 2nd Vice Chair, Christine Jones (who is a black woman, also the only black officer of the party) was elected to do. 

"Let's be clear. Cynthia Busch fired me because I am Black and gay, thus unworthy of representing and managing the party.

"Her judgment is off, and exemplifies the kind of marginalization and disrespect that black and LGBT Americans encounter in this country every day. If the BDP is short on resources, she should have "laid off" Mr. (Travis) Perron.  Mrs. Busch may be a good organizer, however not only does she not value the contribution of black or LGBT Democrats to the party, but also lacks the leadership skills and fundraising capacity of our chairman, Mitch Ceasar, who has held this party together for the better part of two decades. As a matter of fact, she as yet to raise any funds at all for the party. 

"I cannot and will not tolerate the policy of discrimination of a party 'leader' that takes my being, and my vote, for granted. Her supporters say a new day for BDP is here. I say the new day will start when Cynthia Busch resigns as acting chair of the Broward Democratic Party.

"Michael 'Magic Mike' Howson
"Democratic precinct committeeman, H003
"Board member,  Democratic Black Caucus
"Board member, Dolphin Democrats LGBT Caucus"

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