Newly elected junior United States Senator from Florida Marco Rubio is considered a rising star in the Republican Party especially amongst the conservative faction. During his successful senatorial campaign, Rubio was already being touted a possible future Presidential candidate as soon as 2012. The senator has issued a statement that he will not seek Presidential or Vice-Presidential office in the upcoming election. “I’m not going to be the Vice Presidential nominee,” he said to Sean Hannity of Fox News. “It’s important that I have that attitude too because I won’t be able to do this job well.” This could be a wise political decision as time is on Rubio’s side. He is just 39 and will benefit from the seasoning of serving his full term. If all goes well during the next six years, Rubio would have to be considered a serious contender in 2016.
The GOP likes to play up Rubio as a genuine rags to riches American success story which is actually true. Parents Mario Rubio and Oria Garcia were Cuban exiles fleeing Castro’s regime to Miami where Marco Antonio was born May 28, 1971. He is the third child among Mario, Barbara and Veronica. The family relocated to Las Vegas in 1979 where Mario worked as a bartender at Sam’s Town Casino and Oria was a housekeeper at the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino.
They returned to Miami in 1985. Mario again worked as a bartender until settling into being a school crossing guard until he retired. The elder Rubio passed away in 2010. His wife got a stock clerk position at K-Mart. Rubio graduated from South Miami Senior High School and received a football scholarship to Tarkio College. After a year there, he attended Santa Fe Community College. He received his Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Florida (1993) and J.D. cum laude in 1996 from the University of Miami.
While studying for his law degree, Rubio gained his first inside exposure to politics by interning for U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. His first public office was that of a city commissioner for West Miami. Rubio joined the Florida House of Representatives from the 11th District January 25, 2000 following a special election and rose through party ranks from majority whip to majority leader to Speaker of the House in 2007 and 2008. His major platforms were strongly supporting the overhaul of Florida’s tax system and improving education. Rubio traveled around the state holding what he dubbed “Idearaisers” and the results were developed into the book “100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future.” All 100 ideas were submitted to the House and 57 became law.
After leaving the house, Rubio returned to private law practice while also serving as a political analyst for Univision and teaching classes as a visiting professor at Florida International University. He served as Florida chairman of GOPAC. The Roman Catholic Rubio married former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Jeanette Dousdebes in 1998 and they have four children: Amanda, Daniella, Anthony and Dominic. Their primary residence is West Miami.
When Republican Senator Mel Martinez resigned from office, Rubio announced he would run for the vacated office despite being far behind (double digits) in the polls behind Republican Governor Charlie Crist. Rubio overcame the large deficit in dramatic fashion and his momentum toward winning the Republican primary prompted Cristo to drop out and run as an independent. Rubio easily captured the Republican nomination as he rode the anti-Obama conservative wave.
The national political newcomer quickly became a darling of Fox News and conservative groups because of his staunch conservative views that oppose those of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. He advocates limited big government and private property rights. On the hot button controversial issues, Rubio opposes stem cell research, Obama’s stimulus package, cap and trade, same sex marriage, granting amnesty to illegal aliens and the government health care plan. He supports legal protection for unborn fetuses, banning gays in the military and raising some retirement ages. The senator strongly supports repealing Obamacare.
His platform was basically that of strong conservatism and anti-Obama administration and he cruised to an overwhelming election victory with 48.9 percent of the vote easily crushing Crist (29.7) and Democrat Kendrick Meek (20.1). Rubio’s convincing victory validated his status as a Republican Party up and comer. The new senator now serves on senate committees for commerce, intelligence, foreign relations and small business. Rubio initially remained quiet in learning the ropes during the first few months of his new job but in March 2011 began making headlines when writing an editorial against raising the U.S. debt, a letter to the senate calling for action against Libya to remove Moammar Gaddafi and strongly questioning U.S. domestic and foreign agendas.
The outlook for Rubio capturing the Republican Presidential nod in 2016 is strong at this distant outlook. While his staunch conservatism makes him a target for moderate Republicans, old guard party members, liberals, Democrats and special interest groups, it provides a powerful support base within the party. He presents a youthful and charismatic figure on camera. His ascent from humble beginnings with immigrant parents strikes a popular chord with voters. Rubio’s biggest asset is being a Spanish speaking Hispanic appealing to the fast growing and crucial Latin vote and that will be extremely critical in 2016.
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