Marco Rubio

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Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Rubio in January 2011
United States Senator
from Florida
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Serving with Bill Nelson
Preceded by George LeMieux
Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
In office
January 2, 2007 – January 2, 2009
Preceded by Allan Bense
Succeeded by Ray Sansom
Member of the
Florida House of Representatives
from the 111th District
In office
January 25, 2000 – January 2, 2009
Preceded by Carlos Valdes
Succeeded by Erik Fresen
West Miami City Commissioner
In office
1998–2000
Personal details
Born Marco Antonio Rubio
(1971-05-28) May 28, 1971 (age 43)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jeanette Dousdebes
Children 4
Residence Miami, Florida
Alma mater University of Florida (B.A.)
University of Miami (J.D.)
Profession Politician
Religion Christian (Roman Catholicism)
Website www.rubio.senate.gov

Marco Antonio Rubio (born May 28, 1971) is the junior United States Senator from Florida, serving since January 2011. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives (2007–2009).

A Cuban American native of Miami, Florida, Rubio is a graduate of the University of Florida and the University of Miami Law School. In the late 1990s, he served as a City Commissioner for West Miami and was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000, representing the 111th House district. He was elected Speaker in November 2006.

Rubio announced a run for U.S. Senate in May 2009 after incumbent Republican Mel Martinez resigned. Initially trailing by double-digits against the incumbent Republican Governor Charlie Crist, Rubio eventually surpassed him in polling for the Republican nomination. Rubio won the Republican nomination after Crist opted instead for an independent run. In a three-way split against Crist and Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek, Rubio won the general election in November 2010 with 48.9 percent of the vote. He is one of three Latinos in the Senate.[1]

In June 2012 it was reported that the Republican Presidential candidate of that year, Mitt Romney, was vetting Rubio as a possible running mate, but Romney ultimately selected Paul Ryan.[2]

Early life, education, and political career[edit]

Rubio was born in Miami, Florida,[3] the second son and third child of Mario Rubio and Oria Garcia. His parents were Cubans who had immigrated to the United States in 1956 and were naturalized as U.S. citizens in 1975.[4] Rubio's maternal grandfather, Pedro Victor Garcia, also immigrated legally to the U.S. in 1956, but returned to Cuba to find work in 1959.[5] When he returned to the U.S. in 1962 without a visa, U.S. embassies in Cuba being closed, an immigration judge ordered him deported.[5][6] U.S. immigration authorities ultimately used their discretion to allow him to remain in the U.S. without a visa.[5] The Associated Press concludes that Garcia may have been undocumented for four years until 1966.[6]

In October 2011, the St. Petersburg Times and The Washington Post reported that Rubio's previous statements that his parents were forced to leave Cuba in 1959, after Fidel Castro came to power, were incorrect as they had in fact left Cuba in 1956 during the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. According to The Washington Post, Rubio's "embellishments" resonate with many voters in Florida, who would not be as impressed by his family being economic migrants seeking a better life in the U.S. instead of political refugees from a communist regime.[4] Rubio responded: "The real essence of my family's story is not about the date my parents first entered the United States. Or whether they traveled back and forth between the two nations. Or even the date they left Fidel Castro's Cuba forever and permanently settled here. The essence of my family story is why they came to America in the first place; and why they had to stay."[7]

Rubio's family was Roman Catholic, though from age 8 to age 11, he and his family attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while they lived in Las Vegas.[8] He received his first communion as a Catholic in 1984, before moving back to Miami with his family a year later. He was confirmed and married in the Catholic Church.[9][10]

Rubio attended South Miami Senior High School and graduated in 1989. He then attended Tarkio College for one year on a football scholarship from 1989 to 1990, before enrolling at Santa Fe Community College (now Santa Fe College). He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in political science from the University of Florida in 1993, and his J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1996.[11][12] Rubio stated that his education resulted in $100,000 of student loans, which he paid off in 2012.[13]

While studying law, he interned for U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.[14] He served as City Commissioner for West Miami.[12]

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

With Speaker Rubio (right), at his side, Speaker pro tempore Dennis K. Baxley, compliments House staff for their years of service April 4, 2007, in Tallahassee, Florida.

Rubio was elected at the age of 28 to the Florida House of Representatives, representing Miami in Florida's 111th House District. A special election was called to fill Representative Carlos Valdes' seat as he ran for an open Florida State Senate seat.[15] Rubio placed second in the Republican primary on December 14, 1999,[16] but won the run-off election by 64 votes.[17] He defeated Democrat Anastasia Garcia with 72% of the vote in a January 25, 2000 special election.[18] In November 2000, he won re-election unopposed.[19] In 2002, he won re-election to a second full term unopposed.[20] In 2004, he won re-election to a third full term with 66% of the vote.[21] In 2006, he won re-election to a fourth full term unopposed.[22]

Tenure[edit]

He is the author of the book 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future, which includes information that Rubio compiled while traveling around the state and talking with citizens. This was done through what Rubio calls "Idearaisers". Many of the issues that he pushed for in his first year as speaker came from ideas in this book.[23] In 2007, Marco Rubio championed a major overhaul of the Florida tax system, arguing it would reduce property taxes and decrease the size of government.[24]

During his tenure serving as Speaker of the Florida House, Rubio shared his residence with another Florida State Representative, David Rivera. The two men co-owned a home together in Tallahassee, which later fell into foreclosure after deferring months of mortgage payments. This issue surfaced in June 2010, during Rubio's run for the US Senate but was considered resolved according to Rubio's spokesman.[25]

In December 2002, Rubio was appointed House Majority Leader by Speaker Johnnie Byrd.[26][27] In November 2003, Rubio clinched the Speakership after State Representatives Dennis Baxley, Jeff Kottkamp, and Dennis A. Ross dropped out. He became the first Cuban American to become Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.[28]

U.S. Senate[edit]

2010 election[edit]

On May 5, 2009, Rubio announced on his website that he planned to run for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez, who had resigned and been replaced by George LeMieux. Prior to the announcement, he had been meeting with fundraisers and supporters throughout the state.[29] Initially trailing by double-digits against the incumbent Governor of his own party, Charlie Crist, Rubio eventually surpassed Crist in polling for the Republican nomination.[30][31]

On April 28, 2010, Crist announced he would be running as an independent, effectively ceding the Republican nomination to Rubio.[32] Several of Crist's top fundraisers, as well as Republican leadership, refused to support Crist after Rubio won the Republican nomination for the Senate.[33][34][35]

On November 2, 2010, Marco Rubio won the general election with 49 percent of the vote to Crist's 30% and Democrat Kendrick Meek's 20%.[36] Following his victory in the elections, Rubio soon became the subject of speculation as a potential Republican candidate for the 2012 presidential election.[37][38] Rubio stated shortly after taking office that he had no interest in running for president or vice president in 2012.[39]

Upon taking office, Rubio hired Cesar Conda, former lobbyist and domestic policy chief adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, as his chief of staff.[40][41][42]

Tenure[edit]

Rubio voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011, which included mandatory budget cuts from "sequestration", and said later that defense spending should never have been linked to taxes and the deficit. "You're constantly being given false choices," Rubio said in August 2012. "'If you want to save national security, you have to agree to raise taxes that will hurt our economy.' Well, that's a false choice and quite frankly it's a destructive one."[43]

In October 2011, Rubio co-sponsored the Reducing the Size of Federal Government Through Attrition Act. The bill, which has not been voted on in the Senate, would reduce federal employment by 10% by 2015.[44]

In November 2011, Rubio and Senator Chris Coons (D-Del) co-sponsored the American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Act (AGREE Act). The bill would extend many tax credits and exemptions for businesses investing in research and development, equipment, and other capital. It would also provide a tax credit for veterans who start a business franchise, allow an increase in immigration for certain types of work visas, and strengthen copyright protections.[45]

In 2012 Rubio introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Joe Manchin, to allow employers to be exempted from newly mandated coverage for contraception based on religious or moral grounds, but it was not adopted in the Senate.[46]

Rubio voted against the 2012 Fiscal Cliff Resolutions. Although he has received some criticism for this position, he responded: “Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they'll pay this new tax, and, chances are, they'll do it by firing employees, cutting back their hours and benefits, or postponing the new hire they were looking to make. And to make matters worse, it does nothing to bring our dangerous debt under control.”[47]

In January 2013, Senator Rubio proposed a plan providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. Rubio’s multistep plan includes fines, back taxes, background checks, and a lengthy probationary period. His proposal contrasts with the Republican party’s long-held view that offering citizenship to undocumented immigrants is virtually the same as amnesty.[48]

Rubio was chosen to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address. It would mark the first time the response was delivered in English and Spanish.[49] Economist Paul Krugman and blogger Mike Konczal criticized Rubio for blaming government actions as the main cause of the 2008 housing crisis.[50][51] Rubio's attempt to draw a strong line against the looming defense sequestration was undercut by fellow Republican senator Rand Paul's additional response to Obama's speech that called for the sequester to be carried out.[52]

On April 17, 2013, Rubio voted against an expansion of background checks for gun purchases.[53]

In July 2013, Rubio and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2013. The bill would require federal agencies to monitor and regularly report on the performance of foreign assistance programs based on specified goals and metrics. The reports would be published publicly. According to Rubio: "America’s foreign assistance programs need greater transparency to ensure that they are advancing our values and interests overseas."[54]

Rubio has also taught a political science course at Florida International University during his U.S. Senate career.[55]

Committee assignments[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Senator Rubio speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Rubio holds conservative views on fiscal and social issues, and has been called the "crown prince" of the Tea Party movement.[58][59] His Senate votes in 2011[60] and 2012 earned him 100.00 ratings from the American Conservative Union.[61] He supports an initiative to limit federal spending growth to the per capita inflation rate. He opposed Obama's stimulus package of 2009. He supports initiatives to balance the federal budget, including a balanced budget amendment.[62] Rubio supports Social Security changes to prevent projected future deficits in the program. He believes the program should have a higher age for the start of benefits for workers who are more than 10 years away from retirement to account for Americans living longer.[62] He has stated his support of federal R&D funding and space exploration funding to promote technological innovation, which he sees as critical to the development to the economy.[62] He supports extending the Bush tax cuts and believes no taxes should be increased during a recession. He also opposes the capital gains tax, stating that it is double taxation, as well as the estate tax. Rubio supports a flat rate federal tax.[62] Based on his voting record in the 1st Session of the 112th Congress, Rubio was given a rating of 91% (A) by the National Taxpayers Union.[63]

Rubio joined 22 other GOP senators in voting against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, stating that he largely supported it but objected to certain new provisions in the bill.[64] Rubio identifies as pro-life.[62] He strongly opposes Roe v. Wade,[62][65] and has stated that the "right to life is a fundamental one that trumps virtually any other right I can imagine".[65] On March 14, 2013, Rubio reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage at the Conservative Political Action Conference, stating that he is in favor of states having the right to define marriage in the "traditional way".[66][67] Rubio opposed the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court based on "her case history and testimony regarding the Second Amendment at the state level, eminent domain takings and the so-called constitutional right to privacy that resulted in the Roe v. Wade decision".[62][68]

He has stated that radical Islamist terrorists pose the greatest threat to the United States and that these radicals intend to impose their beliefs on the world. He voted "yes" on extending the roving wiretaps provision of the Patriot Act, which governs surveillance of suspected terrorists.[62] As of 2010, he was rated B+ by the National Rifle Association (NRA) for his stance on gun control.[62] Rubio has supported Obama's initial response to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's invasion of Iraq. He has also called for arms to support moderate elements in the Syrian opposition and a bombing campaign to stop ISIL's advance.[69]

In 2012 he urged his party to compromise on the DREAM Act to keep from alienating Hispanic voters from the Republican party.[70]

Rubio has said that there is no "responsible way to recreationally use marijuana", and has not responded to questions regarding whether he has personally used marijuana.[71]

In 2014, Rubio proposed legislation to replace the earned income tax credit with a federal wage enhancement for qualifying low-wage jobs. The proposal would apply to singles as well as married couples and families with children. It would also arrive in sync with a monthly paycheck rather than a year-end lump-sum credit. Rubio asserted that this was a "better way to support low-income workers than simply raising the minimum wage."[72]

Climate change[edit]

Rubio has stated that he does not believe that human activity is causing climate change, and argues that proposals to address climate change will instead "destroy" the economy.[73] The independent fact-checking website PolitiFact found that Rubio had consistently questioned the scientific understanding of climate change: "Rubio consistently either avoids the link between human activity and climate change, or outright denies it."[74]

Rubio has been labelled a climate change denier by Democrats[75][76][77] which he rejects, claiming the "hypocrisy" of liberal critics when they decline to accept the "settled science" that "human life begins at conception."[76]

Speculation on a possible run for higher office[edit]

On April 2014, the departure of Cesar Conda, Rubio’s chief of staff since 2011, was seen as a sign of Rubio’s plans to run for President in 2016. Conda will lead Rubio's Reclaim America PAC as a senior adviser, and will remain as a part-time advisor to Rubio.[78][79]

Groups supporting Rubio raised over $530,000 in the first three months of 2014, most of which spent on consultants and data analytics, in what was seen as preparations for a presidential campaign.[80]

A poll from the WMUR/University tracking New Hampshire Republican primary voters' sentiment, shows that Rubio was at the top of the poll alongside Rand Paul in 2013, and as of April 18, 2014 he had dropped to 10th place behind other Republican contenders. The poll also suggests that Rubio is not disliked by the primary voters, which could be positive for him if other candidates choose not to run.[81][82]

Personal life[edit]

Rubio married Jeanette Dousdebes, a former bank teller and Miami Dolphins cheerleader, in 1998.[83] She is of Colombian descent, together they have four children.[83][84] Rubio and his family live in West Miami, Florida.[10] Rubio attends Christ Fellowship, a Southern Baptist Church[85] in West Kendall, Florida,[86] as well as Catholic services.[87] After leaving the Florida House of Representatives due to term limits in January 2009, Rubio started his own law firm. In February, he declared himself a candidate for U.S. Senate in the 2010 election cycle.[88] In an interview in 2012, Rubio said: "I'm a Roman Catholic. I'm theologically in line with the Roman Catholic Church. I believe in the authority of the church, but I also have tremendous respect for my brothers and sisters in other Christian faiths. I recognize, as the Catholic Church does, that there are excellent teachings of the Word throughout other denominations. The elements of salvation are found in these churches as well."[89]

Electoral history[edit]

Florida U.S. Senate Election 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Marco Rubio 2,645,743 48.9%
Independent Charlie Crist 1,607,549 29.7%
Democratic Kendrick Meek 1,092,936 20.2%
Libertarian Alexander Snitker 24,850 0.5%

References[edit]

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  85. ^ http://www.sbc.net/churchsearch/church.asp?ID=2979-33157.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  86. ^ Gibson, David (November 15, 2010). "Is Marco Rubio Catholic or Baptist? Or Is the Reformation Over?". Politics Daily. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  87. ^ Oppenheimer, Mark (November 26, 2010). "Marco Rubio: Catholic or Protestant?". New York Times. 
  88. ^ Reinhard, Beth (May 22, 2010). "Rubio's income grew with his political clout, tax records show". Tampa Bay Times. Miami Herald. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  89. ^ Bailey, Sarah Pulliam (June 19, 2012). "Q & A: Marco Rubio on His Faith of Many Colors". Christianity Today. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Speech
United States Senate
Preceded by
George LeMieux
United States Senator (Class 3) from Florida
January 3, 2011 – present
Served alongside: Bill Nelson
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
John Hoeven
R-North Dakota
United States Senators by seniority
79th
Succeeded by
Ron Johnson
R-Wisconsin
Florida House of Representatives
Preceded by
Carlos Valdes
Member of the Florida House of Representatives from the 111th district
2000–2009
Succeeded by
Erik Fresen
Preceded by
Allan Bense
Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
2007–2009
Succeeded by
Ray Sansom
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mel Martinez
Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from Florida
(Class 3)

2010
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