It gives me great pleasure to once again engage in discussion with the students of my Alma Mater, this time as a newly elected State Representative.

For those of you who don’t yet know me, my name is Rene Plasencia, although many may know me better as Coach P. Like you, I was once a student at UCF and had been spending my days teaching American government at Colonial High School until my recent election to the Florida House of Representatives.

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Many of you may be wondering what the role of a State Representative is in government, how is a State Rep different from any other elected official, or just simply what does one do? Well here in Florida and most other states a representative serves in the lower house of the state’s legislature. The specific details of what that entails depend on the individual state in which a representative serves. However, generally the responsibilities entail: proposing legislation and amendments to existing legislation, voting on legislation, and serving on committees.

In addition, it is the responsibility of a state representative to assist his/her constituents with any problems that they may have with any one of the various agencies within the state or any other general questions and concerns they may have. State Representatives will also attend numerous community events in order to better understand the wants and needs of the people they serve. During the period when the state legislature is not in session, all Representatives, including myself, will return to their jobs as lawyers, health care providers, teachers, or whatever their normal profession may be.

My purpose for writing this column and all future column is to engage with you, the constituents of District 49, in a positive exchange of ideas so that I might better learn about the issues that are important to you in your lives. With that being said, if you have any questions or concerns that you wish to address to me you may do so by contacting my district office at: (407) 207-7283 or via email at: rene.plasencia@myfloridahouse.gov .