Staunch liberal Anna Eskamani to take on State Rep. Mike Miller in HD 47

By : Billy Manes
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ORLANDO – “It’s been wild. It’s been incredible, and just the support has been overwhelming and humbling.” As director of public affairs and communications at Planned Parenthood of Central and Southwest Florida, Anna Eskamani should know. Florida has not been kind to women, to the LGBTQ community, to minorities or to teachers, really. On July 3, Eskamani launched her campaign to unseat State Rep. Mike Miller (R-Orlando) in a bid to bring some reason back to the region.

Miller’s victory over former State Rep. Linda Stewart in 2014 didn’t exactly ring with a shock, though Stewart has now advanced to the state senate. Florida’s governmental bodies have generally leaned to the right, and Stewart couldn’t be much more left. That is, unless, you consider the Eskamani campaign.

“I offer a distinct advantage over other more traditional Democratic candidates, especially today – a time of unprecedented excitement and participation on the left and among potential Democratic voters,” she wrote to floridapolitics.com. “Namely, I offer a clear contrast to the Republican Party which is profoundly unpopular and begging to be replaced by a genuine full-throated alternative like myself. I represent the Party’s future, and my ability to articulate a progressive message that speaks to hard working families of all background is critical to both winning elections and leading real social change.”

“Republicans for two decades have implemented failed policies and dysfunctional misrule in Tallahassee,” she continued. “Democrats must not only shame them – as super important as that is – we must also offer our hard working Florida families a clear alternative and demonstrably work to build towards that vision.”

Eskamani’s sister, Ida, famously worked with current legislator Carlos Guillermo Smith at Equality Florida. The two sisters have been awarded frequently for their progressive values, including support of LGBTQ and women’s rights.

“Well, I think that without a doubt, I have a great relationship with the LGBTQ community. I’ve served with Equality Florida; I’ve worked with the LGBTQ community. I wouldn’t even say that I’m an ally, but I’m an accomplice,” she says. “Even when it comes down to who is insured. For me, I’m so honored to work with the Latinx community in my time. Recently, I’ve realized it’s part of who I am: inconsequential, marginalized.

Eskamani is keen to the keyword “intersectionality,” especially because she is Iranian by descent. Her support of LGBTQ rights is evident from her appearances at events to her history of defiance against conservative bigotry.

“Especially after Pulse. I think people need to be reminded how the people of the LGBTQ community are targeted,” she says. “I saw it at my work with Planned Parenthood and other spaces of potential violence. After Pulse, we realized that people were marginalized. Not just people of color. Whatever the color of your skin, we’re all the same. So it’s really important to have these intentional, intersectional conversations.”

But it goes beyond simple nomenclature. There are other means of building bridges, she says, and some of them might not be so comfortable.

“I think that we have a lot of work to do in actually uniting with each other,” she says.

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