Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

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Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, official portrait, 116h Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 26th district
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byCarlos Curbelo
Succeeded byCarlos Giménez
Personal details
Debbie Jessika Mucarsel Gil

(1971-01-18) January 18, 1971 (age 52)
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseRobert Powell
EducationPitzer College (BA)
Claremont Graduate University (MA)

Debbie Jessika Mucarsel-Powell (born January 18, 1971)[1] is an Ecuadorian-born American politician and academic administrator who served as a U.S. representative for Florida's 26th congressional district from 2019 to 2021. A member of the Democratic Party, her district covered the western part of Miami-Dade County, including Homestead, as well as the Florida Keys. Mucarsel-Powell was the first Ecuadorian American and first South American-born immigrant to serve as a member of the U.S. House and the U.S. Congress.

Murcarsel-Powell was defeated in her 2020 re-election bid by Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Giménez.

Early life and education[edit]

Mucarsel-Powell was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and raised in Miami, the daughter of Imelda Gil and Guido Mucarsel Yunes. Mucarsel-Powell immigrated to the United States when she was 14 years old, with her mother and three older sisters. She began working in a doughnut shop and continued to work to help support her family, who shared a one bedroom apartment.[2]

Mucarsel-Powell attended Pomona Catholic High School in Pomona, California. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Pitzer College and a Master of Arts in international political economy from Claremont Graduate University.[3][non-primary source needed]

Earlier career[edit]

Mucarsel-Powell worked for non-profits like the Hope Center, Zoo Miami Foundation, and the Coral Restoration Foundation.[4][5] From 2003 to 2007, she served as the director of development at Florida International University (FIU). She was the associate vice president for advancement at the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine from 2007 to 2011.[6] Mucarsel-Powell became an associate dean at the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.[4][5]

Mucarsel-Powell volunteered for the presidential campaigns of John Kerry and Barack Obama. In 2016, she ran unsuccessfully against Anitere Flores for the Florida Senate.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



In August 2017, Mucarsel-Powell announced she would challenge Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo in Florida's 26th congressional district of the United States House of Representatives in the 2018 elections.[8] She defeated veteran Demetries Grimes in the Democratic Party primary election, receiving 63.5% of the vote.[9]

In the November 6 general election, Mucarsel-Powell defeated Curbelo, receiving 50.9% of the vote,[10] becoming the first Ecuadorian-born person to be elected to the United States Congress and the first woman to represent Florida's 26th congressional district.[2][11]


Mucarsel-Powell was defeated for re-election by the Republican nominee, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Giménez.[12]


On December 18, 2019, Mucarsel-Powell voted to impeach President Donald Trump.[13]

Committee assignments[edit]

Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives[14]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Post-congressional career[edit]

In April 2021, Mucarsel-Powell joined Giffords as a senior adviser, with the goal of lobbying the U.S. Senate to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021.[20]

Electoral history[edit]

Florida State Senate, 23rd district, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Anitere Flores (incumbent) 97,343 54.24
Democratic Debbie Mucarsel-Powell 82,117 45.76
Total votes 179,460 100.0
Republican hold
Democratic primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Debbie Mucarsel-Powell 20,997 63.5
Democratic Demetries Grimes 12,095 36.5
Total votes 33,092 100.0
Florida's 26th congressional district election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Debbie Mucarsel-Powell 119,797 50.9
Republican Carlos Curbelo (incumbent) 115,678 49.1
Total votes 235,475 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican
Florida's 26th congressional district election, 2020
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Carlos A. Giménez 177,211 51.7
Democratic Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (incumbent) 165,377 48.3
Total votes 342,588 100.0
Republican gain from Democratic

Personal life[edit]

Mucarsel-Powell is of Ecuadorian and Lebanese ancestry.[21] When she was 24 years old, her father was killed outside of his home in Ecuador by a gunman.[22][23] She and her husband, Robert Powell, have three children.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Florida New Members 2019, The Hill
  2. ^ a b "Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, la primera ecuatoriana elegida al Congreso de EEUU – La República EC" (in Spanish). November 6, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "Meet Debbie | Debbie Mucarsel Powell". Debbie Mucarsel Powell. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  4. ^ a b By $${element.Contributor} (August 2, 2017). "Carlos Curbelo Gets Democratic Challenger Who Emigrated from Ecuador". Retrieved October 25, 2018. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ a b "Two Latinos, Carlos Curbelo and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell battle for Florida congressional seat". Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "Debbie Mucarsel-Powell's Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved November 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Clark, Lesley (October 5, 2018). "Democratic activist wants to be part of Florida's blue wave | McClatchy Washington Bureau". Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  8. ^ "Curbelo draws Democratic challenger in swing Florida district". miamiherald. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  9. ^ Greenwood, Max (August 28, 2018). "Former educator secures Democratic nod to challenge Curbelo in Florida". The Hill. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "Florida Election Results: 26th House District". Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Killion, Ann. "The Latest: Nelson campaign supporting recount 'to win'". Archived from the original on November 7, 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  12. ^ Dixon, Matt (November 4, 2020). "Republican Gimenez unseats Democrat Mucarsel-Powell in Florida House race". Politico. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  13. ^ "WHIP COUNT: Here's which members of the House voted for and against impeaching Trump". Business Insider.
  14. ^ "Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives - Official Alphabetical List". Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  15. ^ "The Women's Caucus". Women's Congressional Policy Institute. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  16. ^ "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  17. ^ "Members". LGBT Equality Caucus.
  18. ^ "Congressional Progressive Caucus : Caucus Members". Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  19. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  20. ^ "Latina ex-Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell takes new role on personal mission: Gun control". NBC News.
  21. ^ Gamboa, Suzanne (November 7, 2018). "Latino, minority voters helped drive Democrats' gains in U.S. House, experts say". NBC News. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  22. ^ Mucha, Sarah (March 22, 2018). "Dem candidate recounts her history with gun violence in new ad to air during gun control march". CNN. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  23. ^ "She's an immigrant who lost her father to gun violence. Now she's in Congress". CNN.
  24. ^ "Meet Debbie". Debbie Mucarsel Powell. Retrieved January 6, 2021.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 26th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative