PHOTOS: Equality Florida Action PAC hosts fundraiser for State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The Equality Florida Action PAC hosted State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith’s final re-election fundraiser before the Nov. 6 general election at The Venue in Orlando on Oct. 23.

Dozens of Central Florida voters listened as The Venue owner Blue Star and Smith’s partner Jerick Mediavilla spoke about the importance of voting for the self-professed “proud progressive, liberal, feminist, gay, Latinx, democrat.”

Smith then took the stage and thanked his supporters, who in 2016 made him the first LGBTQ Latinx lawmaker in the history of the Florida Legislature.

“Representation matters. Bringing our lived experiences to the table matter,” Smith said.

Smith spoke about his record over the last two years in the Florida House, saying that he advocates not only for LGBTQ equality, but equality for all.

“We are talking about equality for women, for equal work for equal pay. We are talking about equality for immigrants because we know that no human being is illegal. We are talking about equality for our workers who want to earn a fair, living wage and have access to fair benefits, $15 an hour,” Smith said. “We are talking about equality for Puerto Rico, who was left behind by the federal government after a terrible storm and who still to this day have a governor who has done nothing more but to wave the Puerto Rican flag around the island and the state of Florida while Puerto Ricans are sleeping in cars because we have no affordable housing, enough!”

Joe Saunders, Equality Florida’s senior political director and former State House Representative of Smith’s district, spoke to the crowd about the importance of these midterm elections.

“We stand on the precipice of a transformational election for Florida politics,” Saunders said. “The same angst and anxiety and fear that so many of us felt in 2016, the thing that made us all cry and then take to the streets and rally for the last two years is the same angst, anxiety and fear changing what a midterm election looks like in Florida.”

The Equality Florida Action PAC has raised $500,000 so far this election year to help pro-LGBTQ candidates throughout Florida, focusing specifically on 15 state races in key swing districts, including Smith’s State House District 49.

“This is a candidate to stretch for,” Saunders said. “This is a race that we must win.”

General elections are on Nov. 6 throughout the country. Early voting is currently open in Florida.

Photos by Jeremy Williams.

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