Rene “Coach P” Plasencia wanted at least one Education Committee spot, and he got it.
By Jacob Engels
Newly-minted State Representative Rene Plasencia talked a lot about improving education during his campaign, and now it looks like he will be able to match that talk with action as a state legislator. Plasencia is a Colonial High School teacher and legendary track coach who bested Democratic incumbent Joe Saunders by just over 700 votes in last months election.
On Monday, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli announced his final committee selections – and Plasencia found himself on the following committees: Higher Education & Workforce, Economic Affairs, Business & Professions & Economic Affairs. He will serve with fellow Hispanic Republican & Central Florida legislator Bob Cortes on the Higher Education & Workforce Committee.
“I did not go into committee selection process with any expectations. I wanted at least one Education Committee, and I got it. Higher Education is appropriate considering the district I represent,” explained Plasencia when we asked him about his committee appointments.
Plasencia’s district includes 5 colleges & universities – UCF, Valencia, Full Sail, Polytechnic & Florida Technical College.
“Having a voice in Tallahassee for the colleges & universities in our district is imperative. Being able to weigh in on the economic and healthcare concerns we face as a district and state is also very important to me.”
Republican attorney and former Orange County Clerk of Courts Eddie Fernandez is excited about the committees Plasencia has been placed on, and his recent selection to lead the Orange County Legislative Delegation by his Republican & Democratic peers – first reported on by Orlando Politics.
“Rene’s assignment to these important committees and his leadership position in our delegation speaks to his abilities and the Republican party’s commitment to the Hispanic community,” said Fernandez.
Timber Creek High School teacher & Democratic leader Sean Ashby hopes that fellow educator Plasencia does not forget about K-12 funding and reform.
“Unfortunately Rene wasn’t selected for committees which serve our K-12 public schools. Hopefully, he is able to find other avenues to communicate with his fellow Republicans about common sense changes in our education system. We don’t need more reforms that only benefit special interests,” explained Ashby who chairs the Citizens for Informed Elections PAC.
Plasencia argued that committee assignments will not limit his scope of focus in the legislature. “I will still focus on K-12 issues, regardless of committee assignments.” Close friend and fellow Puerto Rican Republican Peter Vivaldi believes that Plasencia will ultimately improve the lives of residents in District 49.
“He understands the needs of struggling families. I look forward to seeing him providing meaningful solutions to problems facing Central Florida.”
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org