Carlos Guillermo Smith is throwing his hat into the ring in Florida's House District 49.
At the Florida Democratic Party's Leadership Blue Gala last weekend in Hollywood, Guillermo Smith announced intentions to seek the House seat now held by Republican Rene "Coach" Plasencia.
A public policy specialist for the civil rights organization, Equality Florida, Guillermo Smith knows Tallahassee well. In an interview with SFGN, he referenced the recent legislative session as proof of his ability to protect the LGBT community.
"There were so many hostile bills targeting the LGBT community," Guillermo Smith said.
Together with like-minded lobbyists, Guillermo Smith said he was able to defeat those dangerous bills, such as the infamous "bathroom bill" put forth by Miami Representative Frank Artiles. Formerly known as HB 583, the bill targeted transgender people, denying them access to public bathrooms. The bill died in committee and never made it Governor Rick Scott’s desk.
“What we learned in Florida is that activism is not dead,” Guillermo Smith said.
Working with Equality Florida, Guillermo Smith said he was able to effectively use multiple measures to get lawmakers in the place where they need to be.
The 34-year-old Orlando man said he classifies himself as a gay Latino. His father is Peruvian and his mother is of French Canadian ethnicity. He is a bachelor with no children who attended the University of Central Florida with former Florida Representative Joe Saunders. Saunders now works for the Washington, D.C. based Human Rights Campaign. He narrowly lost the District 49 seat to Plasencia in the 2014 midterm elections.