On Tuesday, Florida State Representative Rene Plasencia visited campus to speak to the Economics Society at UCF in the Student Union's Blackstone LaunchPad.
In the meeting, Plasencia went into detail about the influence the state legislature has on the lives of local businesses, particularly those of small business owners. He also emphasized how important it is to get involved with the local government. Among the topics discussed were questions on health care, teachers’ pay, the political system, and the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana.
Some of the questions revolved around the legislative process, and Plasencia spent a short amount of time going through the steps that an idea would have to go through before it became a state law.
“We really wanted to bring students in and disrupt how they interact with the local government because, as it is right now, there’s no way for the students to reach out to them,” said Landon Stinson, the president of the Economics Society.
Stinson, a senior majoring in economics, said that asking Plasencia to speak on campus was not in any way a political statement. Instead, it was a chance for UCF students to meet a member of the local government.
Plasencia, better known as ‘Coach P’, is a UCF alumnus of ’96 and an American government teacher at Colonial High School. He represents the 49th District of Florida, an area that includes the main campus of UCF, as well as the surrounding areas.
“The bulk of what happens in Florida is not decided by the government, but by the state,” he said.
The Assistant Director of the LaunchPad, Pam Hoelzle, was also at the event to encourage students to find something that they were passionate about.
“If there’re things that are bothering you, whether that’s medical marijuana or transportation, those are things you can be involved in,” Hoelzle said.
Amber Hair is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.