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Mario Díaz-Balart

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Mario Díaz-Balart
Mario Díaz-Balart official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 25th district
21st (2011–2013)
25th (2003–2011)
Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Preceded by Constituency established
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 112th district
In office
November 7, 2000 – November 5, 2002
Preceded by Alex Villalobos
Succeeded by Redistricted
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 37th district
In office
November 3, 1992 – November 7, 2000
Preceded by Redistricted
Succeeded by Alex Villalobos
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 115th district
In office
November 8, 1988 – November 3, 1992
Preceded by Javier Souto
Succeeded by Redistricted
Personal details
Born Mario Rafael Díaz-Balart Caballero
(1961-09-25) September 25, 1961 (age 56)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
Political party Democratic (Before 1985)
Republican (1985–present)
Spouse(s) Tia Díaz-Balart
Education University of South Florida, Tampa (BA)
Website House website

Mario Rafael Díaz-Balart Caballero /ˈdæz bəˈlɑːrt/ (born September 25, 1961) is a Republican U.S. Representative for Florida's 25th congressional district. Elected in 2002, his current district includes much of southwestern Miami-Dade County, including the city of Hialeah, and much of the northern portion of the Everglades.

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

Díaz-Balart was born in 1961 in Fort Lauderdale, to Cuban parents, the late Cuban politician Rafael Díaz-Balart, and his wife, Hilda Caballero Brunet. His aunt, Mirta Díaz-Balart, was the first wife of Fidel Castro. Her son, and his cousin, is Fidel Ángel "Fidelito" Castro Díaz-Balart. His uncle is the Cuban-Spanish painter, Waldo Díaz-Balart. His brother, Lincoln Díaz-Balart, represented Florida's 21st District from 1993 to 2011. He has two other brothers, José Díaz-Balart, a journalist, and Rafael Díaz-Balart, a banker.

He attended the University of South Florida to study political science before beginning his public service career as an aide to then-Miami Mayor Xavier Suárez in 1985. In the same year, he changed his political party affiliation from Democratic to Republican.[1]

Florida legislature[edit]

He was elected to the Florida House in 1988 and moved to the Florida Senate in 1992. He returned to the Florida House in 2000. During his second tenure in the House, he chaired the redistricting committee.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Chief Judge Kevin Michael Moore, swearing in Members of Congress Carlos Curbelo, Frederica Wilson, Mario Díaz-Balart, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. (February 2015)

Elections[edit]

2002–2006

Díaz-Balart gave up his seat in the state house to run in the newly created 25th District, which included most of western Miami-Dade County, part of Collier County and the mainland portion of Monroe County. It was widely believed that he had drawn this district for himself, given that he was chairman of the state house redistricting committee. He easily won the seat with 64 percent of the vote. He was unopposed for reelection in 2004, and won a third term with 58 percent of the vote in 2006.

2008

In 2008, Díaz-Balart faced his strongest challenge to date in Joe García, former Executive Director of the Cuban American National Foundation and former chairman of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party. Despite the perception that Díaz-Balart had drawn the district for himself, it was actually fairly marginal on paper, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+4. Ultimately, Díaz-Balart defeated Garcia with 53 percent of the vote.

Diaz-Balart official portrait
2010

On February 11, 2010, Díaz-Balart announced his intention to seek election in Florida's 21st congressional district—being vacated by his brother, Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart—rather than the 25th district.[2] Unlike the 25th, the 21st has long been considered the most Republican district in the Miami area. No other party even put up a candidate when filing closed on April 30, handing the seat to Díaz-Balart.[3]

2012

Díaz-Balart was reelected unopposed in 2012 in the renumbered 25th district. Indeed, since this district's creation in 1993 (it was numbered as the 21st from 1993 to 2013), the Republican candidate has run unopposed in all but two elections.[citation needed]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus membership[edit]

Political positions[edit]

As of January 2018, Díaz-Balart had voted with his party in 92.4% of votes so far in the 115th United States Congress and voted in line with President Trump's position in 93.1% of votes.[4][5]

He is a founding member of the Congressional Hispanic Conference, a caucus of Hispanic Republican congressmen.[6]

Vote Smart issue positions[edit]

Vote Smart, a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office in the United States, "researched presidential and congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues." According to Vote Smart's 2016 analysis, Díaz-Balart generally supports pro-life legislation, opposes an income tax increase, opposes mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders, opposes federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth, supports lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth, opposes requiring states to adopt federal education standards, supports building the Keystone Pipeline, supports government funding for the development of renewable energy, opposes the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, opposes gun-control legislation, supports repealing the Affordable Care Act, opposes requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship, opposes same-sex marriage, and supports allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts.[7]

Environment[edit]

Regarding climate change, in 2007 he said "I know there's a lot of money to be made on the bandwagon of global warming, you can make movies, documentaries, get a lot of research money — and that's okay, I love capitalism...My fear is using the bandwagon of global warming to have Congress act on some knee-jerk reaction which will please some editorialists, will hurt our economy, will not do anything to help us in the future."[8]

Health care[edit]

On May 4, 2017, Díaz-Balart voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and pass the American Health Care Act.[9][10]

Donald Trump[edit]

In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the House to request 10 years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.[11]

Díaz-Balart supported Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, saying "It is clear that Director Comey had lost the confidence of the Deputy Attorney General, Attorney General, and the President. Unfortunately, he became a controversial and divisive figure."[12]

In January 2018, after it was reported that Trump had voiced his opposition to immigration from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries - which he reportedly referred to as "shithole countries" - in a meeting on immigration reform, Diaz-Balart who attended the meeting refused to confirm or deny whether the incident took place.[13][14][15]

Economic issues[edit]

On September 29, 2008, Díaz-Balart voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which was intended to purchase distressed assets and supply cash directly to banks during the global financial crisis of 2008.[16]

Díaz-Balart voted to promote free trade with Peru, against assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization, for the Central America Free Trade Agreement, for the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, for the US-Singapore free trade agreement, and for free trade with Chile. He was rated 75% by the National Foreign Trade Council, indicating support for trade engagement.[17]

Tax reform[edit]

Díaz-Balart voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[18] An estimated 41,000 of his constituents are expected to lose their health insurance as a result of the bill's passing.[19]

Foreign policy[edit]

In 2007, Díaz-Balart advocated in favor of maintaining the Cuban embargo, saying "Some people do not understand the embargo of Cuba. Its purpose is to keep American hard currency out of the hands of a Communist thug by restricting most trade and travel."[20][dead link]

Immigration and refugees[edit]

Díaz-Balart supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that "The ban is only temporary until the Administration can review and enact the necessary procedures to vet immigrants from these countries. The ban is based on countries the Obama administration identified as 'countries of concern' and not based on a religious test."[21]

Drug policy[edit]

Díaz-Balart has a "D" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes.[22]

Personal life[edit]

He currently lives in Miami with his wife Tia and son Cristian Rafael.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Díaz-Balart Se Pasa Al Partido Republicano", El Nuevo Herald, April 24, 1985.(in Spanish)
  2. ^ "Mario Díaz-Balart Will Run to Succeed His Brother". Roll Call. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  3. ^ "Candidates and Races – Candidate Tracking system – Florida Division of Elections – Department of State". state.fl.us. Retrieved May 11, 2017. 
  4. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (2017-01-30). "Tracking Mario Diaz-Balart In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  5. ^ "Represent". ProPublica. Retrieved 2017-05-02. 
  6. ^ Henry Bonilla, et al., "We the (Hispanic) People...," Wall Street Journal (March 17, 2003)
  7. ^ "Mario Diaz-Balart's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)". Vote Smart. Retrieved 15 January 2018. 
  8. ^ ThinkProgress (2013-06-26). "The Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  9. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  10. ^ Iannelli, Jerry (2017-05-04). "Miami Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart Voted to Repeal Obamacare". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  11. ^ "These are all the Republicans who don't want you to see Donald Trump's tax returns". indy100. 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  12. ^ "Florida politicians react to firing of FBI director Comey". miamiherald. Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  13. ^ Leary, Alex. "Mario Diaz-Balart sidesteps Trump's vulgarity". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2018-01-16. 
  14. ^ "Rep. Diaz Balart Remains Mum On Trump's "S***hole" Remark". 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2018-01-16. 
  15. ^ "Diaz-Balart: Immigration deal possible despite furor over Trump's reported vulgar comment". Naples Daily News. Retrieved 2018-01-16. 
  16. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 681". FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 681. US House of Representatives. 
  17. ^ "Mario Diaz-Balart on Free Trade". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  18. ^ Iannelli, Jerry (22 December 2017). "Miami Rep. Curbelo's Wife Owns Assets That Benefit From GOP Tax Bill's Last-Minute Provision". Miami New Times. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  19. ^ Iannelli, Jerry (20 December 2017). "GOP Tax Bill Could Make 873,000 Floridians Drop or Lose Health Insurance". Miami New Times. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  20. ^ [1] Archived April 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Florida Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  23. ^ "Biography". 11 December 2012. 

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
New constituency Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 25th congressional district

2003–2013
Succeeded by
David Rivera
Preceded by
Lincoln Díaz-Balart
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 21st congressional district

2011–2013
Succeeded by
Ted Deutch
Preceded by
Luis Fortuño
Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference
2009–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
David Rivera
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 25th congressional district

2013–present
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tom Cole
United States Representatives by seniority
101st
Succeeded by
Raúl Grijalva