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Openly Gay Florida Politician Accused of Bullying Colleague

Anika Omphroy and Carlos Guillermo Smith
Facebook; Courtesy Office of Carlos Guillermo Smith

A female colleague said Carlos Guillermo Smith lashed out at her with "blatant aggression" at a Democratic Party function.

A female lawmaker in Florida has accused state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, one of the state's most prominent LGBTQ officials, of bullying her at a Democratic Party meeting.

State Rep. Anika Omphroy said in a letter to House leadership that Guillermo Smith approached her in a "threatening and aggressive manner" during a Florida Democratic Party meeting on Saturday, according to Florida Politics.

"No woman should suffer mental anguish or emotional distress from anyone, regardless of the abuser's political affiliation, race or sexuality," Omproy wrote.

Guillermo Smith on Twitter said he was surprised by the allegations while acknowledging a "tense conversation about an important issue to both of us."

"The details in her letter are simply false (and) did not occur," Smith wrote.

The Orlando lawmaker is Florida's first LGBTQ Latinx lawmaker. He prominently advocated for Central Florida's LGBTQ and Latino community in the wake of the Pulse massacre, and has been the Florida House's lead voice seeking an assault weapons ban.

Both politicians attended a party executive committee debriefing this weekend on results of the November elections. While Democrats performed well nationwide, the party in Florida lost a U.S. Senate seat and also lost a nationally watched governor's race. The elections could have significance for policy arguments over LGBTQ rights in the state.

It remains unclear what Omphroy and Guillermo Smith argued about, but she did speak up against a "transparency" resolution considered and ultimately voted down.

But Omphroy said it was his tactics, not any particular stances, that led her to complain to leadership.

"Representative Guillermo Smith pounded his hand and lashed out at me with a barrage of offensive verbal assaults and a display of blatant aggression in the presence of others who witnessed his behavior," she wrote. "... This bullying and demoralizing behavior must be addressed."

Guillermo Smith said he was "stunned and confused" by the account, and that he has reached out to Omphroy to start a dialogue.

"I respect her (and) care about how we talk about these important issues together as colleagues," he wrote.

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