About Carlos Guillermo Smith
Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith is a proven fighter for Florida’s working families and students. An alumnus of the University of Central Florida, Carlos proudly identifies as a LGBTQ, Latino and forward thinking millennial feminist who reflects the values and diversity of Florida.
In November 2016, he made history as Florida’s first openly-LGBT Latino lawmaker, representing House District 49 in East Orlando. Since then, he co-founded and was elected Chairman of the Legislative Progressive Caucus. As a lawmaker, Rep. Smith has been a champion for civil rights, cannabis reform, affordable higher education, gun safety, mental health, and animal welfare. Out Magazine recognized Carlos as one of the “survivors and heroes of Pulse” in their annual OUT 100 edition for his outspokenness in support of those impacted by the Orlando tragedy.
Florida Politics and SaintPeteBlog recently named Rep. Smith a “Winner of 2017 Session” and he has received numerous awards from the League of Women Voters of FL, the Florida Education Association, the Hispanic Federation, Mi Familia Vota, the Florida Council on American Islamic Relations, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Metropolitan Business Association for his leadership.
The Smiths: A working class family of public servants
Carlos was born and raised in the Sunshine State, attended public schools, and graduated in 1999 from Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, FL. His parents immigrated to Florida in 1978 to find work and live the American dream. His French Canadian mother, Johanne, maintains a public school ESOL program working with students who do not speak English as a first language. His father, Luis Ricardo, is the owner of a small business which specializes in pool cleaning services. His older sister Cathy is a first responder serving her community as a firefighter, and his younger sister Kristine, is attending her second year of residency at UF Health in Jacksonville with a specialty in OBGYN.
Real world experience and work in the private and non-profit sector
After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2003, Carlos spent 8 years working and managing Men’s Wearhouse stores in Georgia and Florida. As time went by, he hit a wall, and began to feel more and more squeezed by the corporate driven profits over people mentality that came from the company executives. From there, Carlos began setting a plan in motion to leave his career in retail to do something where he thought he could make a difference. After volunteering as a community organizer for every social justice group or political campaign he could, he was hired as the legislative aide for Representative Scott Randolph in 2011. He soon became an active leader in the local Democratic Party and served as communications director and senior advisor to Joe Saunders State House 49 race in 2012. After winning his election, Saunders hired Carlos to run his legislative office and become his policy chief during his two years of service in the legislature. In 2013, Carlos was elected by local leaders to become chairman and leader of the Orange County Democratic Party. He currently serves as the governmental affairs manager for Equality Florida, the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.