Carlos Guillermo Smith Becomes Florida’s First Gay Latino Senator

Carlos Guillermo Smith. Photo by John McDonald.

Carlos Guillermo Smith is returning to the Florida legislature, this time as a newly elected state senator.

Smith ran unopposed in Senate District 17 as Republicans offered no resistance for the Central Florida seat. The win sends Smith, 43, back to Tallahassee, where he previously served three terms as a state representative and gives Democrats a battle-tested fighter. 

“Let’s acknowledge and celebrate the significance of our election for Florida’s LGBTQ community, who have been relentlessly attacked and demonized by a majority party in this legislature over the past few years,” said Smith, after declaring victory June 14.

The first gay Latino elected to the Florida Senate, Smith promised to push back against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ conservative social engineering efforts. 

“The tide is turning in Florida,” Smith stated. “DeSantis’ extreme anti-LGBTQ agenda is crumbling in the courts, and LGBTQ Democratic representation in Tallahassee will only increase.” 

Smith spent his formative years in South Florida and graduated from Spanish River High School in Boca Raton. He was a fiery activist for Equality Florida and, along with LGBTQ rights, advocated for stricter gun control laws and the decriminalization of cannabis. 

In 2022, following redistricting, Smith narrowly lost re-election to the Florida House, but refused to let the setback end his political career. 

“When one door closes, another one opens. Don’t you ever forget that,” he said.

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