This month, Representing La Gente will be profiling the junior senator from the great state of Florida: Marco Rubio. Rubio was born on May 28, 1971, to Cuban exiles Mario and Oria Rubio Garcia. Rubio is an alumnus of the University of Florida and obtained his Juris doctor from the University of Miami. He currently is the second youngest active United States Senator, having only been elected to the position in 2010, much to the surprise of both the citizens of Florida and much of the political spectrum.
Rubio’s political career began simply enough, starting out as a city commissioner in West Miami. His time in Miami acted as a springboard for a very successful career within the Florida House of Representatives, where he represented the 111th district. He achieved great success in the house within a relatively short amount of time, bolstered by town hall meetings held all throughout the state known as ‘Idea-Raisers.’ These meetings, in addition to providing a public forum to communicate with his constituents, helped Rubio to form a book called 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future. The release of the book, though largely an echo of the policies of the Bush administration, garnered a lot of attention for Rubio within the ranks of the Republican Party.
This newfound attention came into play quickly, as Rubio turned his attention to running for the United States Senate seat that was being vacated by Florida’s Mel Martinez. Running against Rubio for the seat was Republican governor, Charlie Crist. Rubio’s prospects were bleak, largely because his rising popularity still paled in comparison to the kind of recognition that Crist held as governor. Over time, Crist’s dominance on the Republican nomination began to wane, leading the former governor to run as an independent, effectively splitting the liberal voters and giving Rubio an easy win for the Senate seat.
The advent of Rubio’s election to the Senate was timed with the creation of the Tea Party movement – a movement that Rubio utilized in his bid for the election, largely due to his similar views on small government and the economy. Since being elected, Rubio has now decided to stay away from the Rand Paul- and Michele Bachmann-headed Tea Party Caucus, an act that several members of the hard right have decried.
Marco Rubio is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Foreign Relations, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship. He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Conference. He is currently one year into a six-year term.