State representatives form an unlikely friendship across the aisle
ORLANDO, Fla. - When you get Central Florida lawmakers Scott Plakon, Carlose Guillermo-Smith, and Anna Eskamani together, there's bound to be some sparring.
"I sometimes refer to them they’re really nice people with some bad ideas, that’s all," said State Rep.Plakon, R-Longwood.
"You actually said could you imagine a Florida House with Carlos and Anna together? They would be terrible," said State Rep. Guillermo-Smith, D-Orlando.
Guillermo-Smith and Eskamani, who are Democrats, and Plakon, a Republican, are friends through the good and bad, including when Rep. Plakon's late wife Susie died of Alzheimer's.
"Tthey were both at Susie’s celebration of life and then I married Rachel in 2018 and they were both at our wedding as well which I really appreciated," said Rep. Plakon.
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Reps. Plakon and Smith have been going to church together once a year since 2016.
"You can be divided on policy but you can still treat teach other with kindness. I think Washington can certainly learn a lot from that."
That hasn't kept them from duking it out on teh House floor.
"Have you met with these unions? Have you heard any of their concerns? They're rallying around right now outside in protest," said Rep. Smith in an old discussion over unions.
"But I got the votes and I passed it on the floor, Carlos," said Rep. Plakon.
"Scott actually campaigned actively against me in supporting one of my opponents. As soon as I got to Tallahasssee, I started to find issues we could work on together," said Rep. Eskamani.
Reps. Eskamani and Plakon worked to pass Donna's Law, eliminating the statute of limitations for sex offenses against minors in Florida.
Plakon also voted on Smith's amendment for Pulse Memorial funding.
"There are concepts we all agree on. How to get there might look different, but foundationally we’re not all that different," said Rep. Eskamani.
But just like siblings, there's only so much you can do to keep them playing nice.
"He's wrong all the time. He wouldn’t even wear a mask for this interview!" said Rep. Smith at the end of the interview.
"I knew it had to end with that. I knew that was coming," said Rep. Plakon.
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