As the hankie dropped at Sine Die, Rep. Rene Plasencia finalized his resignation from the Florida House.
Plasencia already faced the end of his time in the chamber in the next few months due to term limits. He just shut down a Senate bid in Senate District 13, opting against a challenge to Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart. His time in Tallahassee has been drawing to a close, and a professional obligation prompted his early exit, he said.
“I took a job four or five months ago with IBM, and after about two months on the job, legal told me I couldn’t do work in Florida until I was no longer in elected office,” he said. “I’ve had to work in every state but the state of Florida.”
He made the decision in December, he said, that he would resign from his House seat once his final regular Legislative Session wrapped up. He informed Speaker Chris Sprowls’ Office then of his intention to do so, and within a couple hours of Sine Die, his resignation letter was in.
“I wanted to make sure I wasn’t leaving any loose ends by resigning,” he said. “But I’m termed out. I need to start working and move on with my life.”
He now serves as IBM’s Florida lead account partner, where he is focusing on IT work within Florida, especially in government and education.
“Because I have such an expertise in education, I was filling in a lot of K-12 contracts throughout the country,” he said. At least in the pandemic area, most of his sales meetings for other states have been over Zoom, but he’s happy to now focus on Florida contracts.
Plasencia this year served as Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee chair and said he worked hard on his priorities right up until a final budget was passed. He’s particularly proud of $120 million dedicated to nursing programs in Florida’s colleges and universities. He also pressed to reduce the price of textbooks and build new academic resources that will become available to students at no charge.
He has arranged with the Speaker’s Office to keep his staff in place through the end of his term so constituent services remain in place. While he’s not in office to advocate for many line items in the budget, he feels that there won’t be any issues there since most relied on recurring funding.