Anna Eskamani: Connected to the city


Photo provided by: Anna for Florida Team

Orlando politician Anna Eskamani poses by Lake Eola, surrounded by high-rise buildings.

Delaney Rosenblatt, Staff Reporter

It may be surprising that former President Barack Obama, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Florida Professional Firefighters State Association, actor Mark Hamil and basketball coach Stan Van Gundy all have one person in common. It is not a reticent publicist, but better yet, a sincere and candid politician, Anna Eskamani. 

Eskamani, who is the member of the Florida House of Representatives from the 47th district in Orange County, has always had strong connections to the City of Orlando and it’s residents. Eskamani was born in Orlando to parents who immigrated to the United States from Iran.

Losing my mom at a young age is a big one for me,” Eskamani said, reflecting on the impact of childhood memories and inspiration. “She was diagnosed with cancer when I was about nine years old and passed away when I was thirteen. I was one of her main caregivers during that time, and saw her get more sick over time too. My family really struggled to pay for health care coverage and I also think about how early preventive screening and proactive testing could have saved her life too. I don’t want other kids or parents to go through that type of loss.

This sense of empathy and concern for others has always been present in Eskamani. Through the causes she supports, Eskamani has painted a clear picture of the future of Orlando that she wishes to see, and provides the necessary steps and actions needed to get there. Eskamani has a diverse range of passions and causes on her Opportunity Agenda, including fighting for fair wages and taxes, protecting natural resources, and properly funding arts and culture in Orlando.

One of Eskamani’s passions both in and out of the world of politics is supporting the arts. Eskamani turned to theater after her mother’s passing, and greatly benefitted from the creative community she was surrounded with. Orlando has a unique and significant arts and culture scene, including the Orlando Repertory Theatre, Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, and the hosting of the Orlando Fringe Festival, which has been running since 1992. As a politician, Eskamani has greatly influenced arts and culture funding, which has been raised 800% since 2019. 

Art instills values and translates experiences across space and time,” Eskamani said in a 2018 article. “It can help bridge gaps across class and culture, teach public speaking skills to the shyest of people, and create an avenue for expression for those of any ability. There is also a positive correlation between schoolchildren’s grades in math and literacy, and their involvement with drama or music activities.” 

Besides arts and culture, Eskamani is passionate about achieving equality for all. Eskamani believes everyone should have equal opportunity to achieve dreams and live a life free of discrimination. After the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting, Eskamani was motivated to enter the field of politics, and make Orlando safer and more inclusive on her own terms. 

“I would say my love for my hometown Orlando coupled with two major events — first was the Pulse nightclub shooting where 49 mostly LGBTQ+ people died at the hands of gun violence influenced me to enter the field of politics,” Eskamani stated. “Our State House Representative at the time did nothing, and as we organized at a local level around gun safety and LGBTQ+ equality, that really stuck with me as not being ok.

Although Eskamani’s work to improve the City of Orlando and surrounding areas has been successful, more passionate and driven leaders are needed in order for Orlando to reach its potential. Taking the dreaded leap into the field of politics can be scary, but the reward outweighs the risk.

“Be yourself, ask for guidance but trust your gut. Also don’t feel like you have to rush– if you want to run for office then get involved in your local community, volunteer on campaigns and build trust and accountability within your community,” Eskamani said. “You’ll know when the timing is right but also remember that you don’t have to run for office! There are many other incredibly impactful ways to be involved in politics and public service.”