House forms first-ever Legislative Progressive Caucus

Carlos Guillermo Smith with the Florida Legislative Progressive Caucus

More than a dozen Democratic Florida House members have formed the Progressive Legislative Caucus, with firebrand state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando elected as its first chair.

The caucus held its organization meeting last week with Smith becoming chair, state Rep. Amy Mercado of Orlando vice chair, and state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo of Boca Raton as clerk.

“As we enter the final weeks of the 2017 legislative session, the Legislative Progressive Caucus will adopt caucus positions on key legislation to underscore our values and priorities,” Smith stated in a news release.

Other charter members included state Reps. Robert Asencio of Miami, Lori Berman of Lantana, Daisy Baez of Coral Gables, John Cortes of Kissimmee, Nicholas Duran of Miami, Joseph Gellar of Aventura, Evan Jenne of Dania Beach, Barrington Russell of Lauderdale Lakes, Sean Shaw of Tampa, Emily Slosberg of Boca Raton, Richard Stark of Weston, and Clovis Watson of Alachua.

The caucus put out a release stating that its members were inspired by the Congressional Progressive Caucus and aim to unite the progressive wing of the Democratic Caucus as a collective block to influence key legislation and advocate for progressive policy solutions that benefit all Floridians.

The caucus is committed to advocating for social and economic justice and security for all Floridians, protecting civil rights, civil liberties and advancing environmental protection and sustainability in the Sunshine State, according to the release.


Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


  • Patricia Halperin

    April 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    This is a great move for Liberal Progressives!

  • Guy Hancock

    April 24, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Where is anyone from Pinellas County? We have a large progressive community here.

  • Sally Wilson

    April 24, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    I am glad to see something like this and I do want to keep posted on the many challenges that we are facing today.

  • Jodi Hart

    April 25, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I would like to know what the qualifications are to be a part of this caucus. I am an advocate in favor of progressiveness. I would like to know if any other other people such as myself could be included.

  • R. Haskell

    April 25, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Brevard… a progressive wasteland. We need progressives to step up. I support this and hope moderate, disaffected Republicans will consider joint efforts to solve problems and overcome political neutering of the publics wishes.

  • David Corcoran

    May 2, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Thank your on Arizona! We too have work to do.

  • David Corcoran

    May 2, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you from Arizona! We too have work to do.

Comments are closed.


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