*Sierra Club Florida has ENDORSED Carlos Guillermo Smith!
Every year, Sierra Club Florida releases a scorecard on how environmentally friendly each representative’s voting record is. This year, Carlos was honored as an Award Winner for his work protecting Florida’s wildlife and ecosystems, fighting climate change, and defending home rule. Carlos is also proudly endorsed for re-election by the Sierra Club.
"For voters keeping score, the Central Florida lawmakers who earned top marks included Democrats Anna Eskamani, Carlos Guillermo Smith, Joy Goff-Marcil and Geraldine Thompson."
-Scott Maxwell, Orlando Sentinel, 5/20/20
Save Split Oak, Vote YES on Orange County Amendment 2
Carlos has emerged as a voice in the effort to protect the Split Oak Reservation Area from the Osceola Parkway extension. Split Oak has been an important part of Central Florida preservation efforts for over 20 years and allowing the extension would destroy much of what has been accomplished.
This November, residents of Central Florida will have the choice to protect this forest in perpetuity by voting YES on Amendment 2.
Protecting Florida’s Wildlife & Ecosystems
A native Floridian, Carlos takes great pride in the beautiful lakes, forests, and wetlands of the state. He also understands the vital role wildlife and ecosystem conservation plays in preserving the health of Florida and its citizens. That’s why he’s committed to protecting them from threats like development, pollution, and more.
In 2019, Carlos voted AGAINST legislation which would begin planning new toll roads through rural Florida. This plan would destroy thousands of miles of natural land and sever corridors between conservations – both of which would be detrimental to the survival of many of Florida’s most endangered species. It would also lead to the pollution of many wetlands and springs, increase CO2 emissions, and destroy rural communities. (Learn more here.) Carlos has also opposed legislation which would allow oil and gas pipelines through conservation areas. Such development would disturb wildlife living there while increasing the risk of environmental disasters.
Carlos also pushes for increased land conservation efforts. He has fought to fully finance land acquisition funds in the Florida budget which would allow the state to buy and preserve crucial conservation areas. He also co-sponsored legislation that became law in 2019 to establish the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area in 2018.
As a major advocate against everyday practices that threaten Florida’s wildlife and ecosystems, Carlos has co-sponsored legislation to ban fracking in our state. Fracking releases dangerous chemicals which can make their way through air and groundwater to threaten nearby ecosystems. Carlos has been very active in the campaign to ban fracking in orange county and throughout the state.
Every day, Floridians use thousands of plastic bags to transport everything from clothes to groceries. Many of these plastic bags end up polluting Florida’s beaches, waterways, and more – where they never fully decompose. That’s why Carlos has been vocal in pressuring Publix to end their use of plastic bags, with hopes that more corporations throughout the state would follow suit, and has co-sponsored legislation to give cities and counties local control on the ability to regulate plastic bags in their communities.
Fighting Climate Change
Carlos understands that Climate Change is one of the most dangerous threats currently facing our country and especially the state of Florida. Rising sea levels that threaten millions in coastal property, severe hurricanes that put lives in danger, and more hot summer days that hurt health and agriculture are waiting ahead if we cannot reduce man-made air pollution. That is why Carlos advocates for policies aimed at reducing Florida’s emissions and transitioning to clean, renewable energy.
The largest problem standing in the way of this goal is that many lawmakers in Florida don’t believe in reality of man-made climate change or its severity. That is why Carlos has been extremely vocal about calling out these lawmakers and promoting the truth. He even co-sponsored legislation which would have created an Office of Climate and Resiliency Research: a program which would have analyzed the effects and costs of climate change on Florida and inevitably encouraged lawmakers to take it more seriously.
In 2020, Carlos co-sponsored two bold policies bringing climate change and its solutions to the forefront of Florida politics while encouraging renewable energy use. The first would have required utility companies to make clean energy more available to consumers, while the second would have converted Florida to 100% renewable energy production by 2050. Combined, these two policies would have enabled Florida to drastically reduce its emissions. Carlos will continue speaking the truth and pushing to curb Florida’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Defending Home Rule
Carlos believes local governments often know what’s best for their communities and the ecosystems that surround them. That’s why he has consistently fought against preemptions Republicans have attempted to place on Florida’s cities. Two such preemptions are those that would have barred cities from regulating plastic straws and sunscreens. Plastic straws are one of the most common forms of plastic pollution, and certain sunscreens contain chemicals that destroy coral reefs. As both of these products can be extremely damaging to local ecosystems, local governments deserve the ability to oversee them. That’s why Carlos spoke out against this "knee-jerk" pre-emption on local control.