Post # 305, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
Gwen was a final secret vote for the new speaker in 1976.
State Representative Gwen Cherry (D., Miami) was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1970. She had the distinction of being the first woman black attorney in Miami. She went on to become the Dean of the Democratic Women in the Florida Legislature. Her legislative focus was on the House Judiciary and Community Affairs Committees.
I have a historic memory of serving with Gwen during the 1976 Session. I was an early supporter of a new House Speaker requiring me to secure secret pledges from fellow House members. I found myself tasked with getting Representative Cherry's signed pledge after midnight. I recall knocking on her apartment door in the Capital asking for her signature on the pledge for the new Speaker. She told me it was a close call between opening the door and calling the police. After recognizing me, she let me in and signed one of the very last pledges.
Gwen was a good friend and an important voice for issues affecting the African American Community, especially as an important member of the Judiciary Committee. I always thought she would have made an excellent appointment by the Governor to the Florida Cabinet or the Circuit Court in Miami.