Firebrand progressive activist Anna Eskamani intends to file Monday to run for the House District 47 seat in the Florida House.
The seat is expected to be vacated next year as Republican incumbent state Rep. Mike Miller of Winter Park runs for Congress instead.
Eskamani, director of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said she has been planning since December to run in HD 47, a district that covers east-central Orlando including downtown, Winter Park, and much of east-central Orange County.
She is 27, but has established herself as a leader of Orlando’s progressive Democrats, and is known for her passionate, scene-stealing speeches at most local left-wing protests.
“My commitment is to serving this district as a strong, visionary, bold, Democrat that our district is thirsty for, hungry and starving for,” she told Orlando-Rising.com Monday in confirming her intention to run.
She has a twin sister, Ida Eskamani, who is legislative aide to another young, firebrand, progressive, Democrat, state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of adjacent House District 49.
The Eskamanis are daughters of Iranian immigrants whom Anna Eskamani said were working class, employed in a donut shop, K-Mart, and other low-wage jobs as they grew up and attended the University of Central Florida, along with a brother. Anna Eskamani is just now completing a doctorate in public affairs, and has two master’s degrees, and a bachelor’s degree, all from UCF.
An unabashed progressive, Eskamani said Democrats need to be like Republicans, who aren’t afraid to be too conservative. Her platform is likely to include a $15 minimum wage, moving away from tax incentives for businesses, strong schools, access to health care, emphasis on infrastructure and public transportation, and safe streets.
She also believes it is time for a major youth movement in the party, and said she’ll seek to do as a representative what she’s sought to do as an activist and community organizer, to inspire young people to work on campaigns and run themselves.
“House District 47 is an incredible district and gets to the heart of Central Florida, of who we are,” she said. “This is where Pulse is. So this has been the center of so much trauma and triumph for Central Florida. Growing up in Orlando I have seen the community’s growth change challenges. And I understand its potential. And that’s the direction I want to go.”
The district includes much of the young, urbanized core of Orlando. It also includes the more Republican Winter Park.
“House District 47 deserves a fighter. This is a swing district in the swing corridor in the state, the I-4 corridor. It can’t be a district that swings anymore,” she said. “My intention is to make this a sold Democratic district moving forward, to stay in the D-column as we need to build power across the state.”