Meet Carlos Guillermo Smith

Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith is a proven fighter for Florida families and students. A respected civil rights leader, Carlos is an alumnus of the University of Central Florida who proudly identifies as a LGBTQ, Latino and forward thinking millennial who prioritizes people over politics.

In November 2016, Central Florida voters elected Carlos to represent them in the Florida House of Representatives and re-elected him in 2018 and 2020 with overwhelming majorities. A a battle-tested community leader, Carlos has been a champion for EQUALITY who’s proudly stood up for the FREEDOM of all Floridians – not just some.

As a proven voice for the people of Central Florida, Carlos has prioritized housing affordability, lowering healthcare costs, voting rights, protecting our rural boundaries and the environment while delivering results. He has brought back millions of dollars in state funding to our community for wounded combat veterans, first responders, the developmentally disabled, and those affected by the Pulse nightclub tragedy while leading a successful effort in 2022 to 100% fully fund $46 million in Cultural and Museum grants statewide for the first time in a decade. He has passed his own legislation as a member of the minority party and held leaders from both parties accountable. Carlos is committed to bringing that same energy and passion to represent the newly-drawn House District 37, which now includes Orange and Seminole County.

Orlando Magazine has repeatedly named Carlos as one of Orlando’s 50 Most Powerful People. In 2020, Carlos was named Florida PTA’s Legislator of the Year, and he has received numerous awards from the League of Women Voters of FL, the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Alliance for Arts Education, the Florida Education Association, the Hispanic Federation, Mi Familia Vota, the Florida Council on American Islamic Relations, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Metropolitan Business Association, Equality Florida, and the LGBTQ+ Center Orlando for his leadership.

With his election to the Florida House in 2016, Carlos made history as Florida’s first openly-LGBTQ Latino lawmaker. Out Magazine recognized Carlos as one of the “heroes of Pulse” in their annual OUT 100 edition for his outspokenness in support of those impacted by the Orlando tragedy and in 2019, Carlos married his partner Jerick Mediavilla Negron, an educator from Corozal, Puerto Rico. Carlos and Jerick are proud to call Union Park in House District 37 home. Read more about Carlos and Jerick.

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 an OBGYN physician.

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 Central Florida Outreach Coordinator for Equality Florida, the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) community.