We begin in Tallahassee this week where Florida House candidate Carlos Guillermo Smith is doing some effective lobbying.

Smith, an openly gay man running in District 49, reports he has secured the backing from Representative Patrick Rooney, Jr. (R-Palm Beach Gardens) for the Florida Competitive Workplace Act.

“We need bipartisan support to pass this bill in the House and finally ban anti-LGBT discrimination,” said Smith, a Democrat from Orlando.

Fighting to end discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations is a central part of Smith’s campaign to unseat the District 49 Representative, Rene “Coach” Plasencia (R-Orlando). The Equality Florida operative announced he is coming to Broward County for a fundraising reception Nov. 5 at the L’hermitage Condominum in Fort Lauderdale. For details, visit CarlosGuillermoSmith.com

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office appointed Miami councilwoman Mimi Planas to the state’s commission on the status of women. Planas is a three-time president of the Miami chapter of Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT inclusive group. Planas, a conservative Hispanic lesbian, has steadfastly defended the Scott administration in Tallahassee as well as Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s agenda. She spoke with SFGN Monday afternoon via telephone.

“I am very excited about the appointment,” Planas said. “I think this shows that I am a strong woman and a strong gay woman and I am honored the Governor put his trust in me.”

Planas said she represents district 10 in Miami-Dade County, an area west of Miami International Airport known as Westchester. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 85 percent of Westchester’s population identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Planas speaks fluent Spanish and English. She said equal compensation in the workplace is a “constant struggle.”

“We must keep the focus on until women are treated equal,” Planas said. “Women are still paid 70 cents on the dollar compared to men. I see this.”

Furthermore, Planas says women can do the job men do “in any arena.”

When asked who she was supporting in the U.S. Republican Presidential Primary Election, Planas said she was 90 percent close to a decision. The Miami Log Cabin Republicans President said she was “very impressed” with former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer, Carly Fiorina, adding she is “capable” and “smart enough” to be the party nominee.Planas also mentioned Florida’s junior U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio as a favorite to win the GOP nomination.

“He did a fantastic job on foreign policy,” Planas said of Rubio’s performance at last week’s debate at the Ronald Wilson Reagan Presidential Library in Simi, California.