When I was elected to the United States Senate in 2010, I set a steadfast objective for myself while in office: to help bring the American Dream back into reach of those who feel it is slipping away. That’s the goal line I strive toward with my every effort, and it’s the measure I use to keep score.
The reason I’m so passionate about restoring the American Dream is because I’ve lived it myself. My parents came to America from Cuba in 1956 and earned their way to the middle class working humble jobs – my father as a bartender in hotels and my mom as a maid, cashier and retail clerk. By their loving and powerful example, I learned the importance of work and family, and developed the belief that all things are possible in America.
I have spent most of my life in West Miami, and live there today with my wife Jeanette and our four children. One of the reasons I love this South Florida community so much is the incredible diversity of people I count as my neighbors. There are those in the middle class, those striving to make it there, and those fortunate enough to have climbed beyond it. There are homes led by heroic single moms, two hard working parents, and even homes with multiple generations living together, like my sister’s, which houses not only her husband and children but also my mother.
My neighbors helped shape my impression of the American Dream, and it wasn’t long after I earned my bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and my juris doctor from the University of Miami Law School that I felt drawn to serve them in public office.
I started as a City Commissioner for West Miami before being elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000, and then Speaker in November 2006. Before taking this post, I authored the book 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future, which was based on conversations I had with Floridians at "idearaisers" that my colleagues and I hosted around the state. As Speaker, I helped enact many of the ideas in this book.
I was proud to be a champion for limited government at the state level, but after seeing the impact of our successes there, I wanted to take my ideas for conservative reform to where they were needed the most: Washington, D.C.
When I launched my campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2009, I was expected to lose big to my better-funded and better-known Republican primary opponent. Yet with a come-from-behind victory, the people of Florida elected me on the promise of bringing conservative ideas to the United States Senate.
Since arriving in Washington in January of 2011, that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve fought against the Washington establishment’s big government vision for America, standing up to ObamaCare and opposing budgets that encourage more debt at the expense of job creation and lasting prosperity.
With my placements on The Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; the Committee on Foreign Relations; the Select Committee on Intelligence; and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I’ve advocated for oversight and reforms to key government functions, vital measures to keep our people safe, and whenever necessary, have served as a check against President Obama's agenda.
I haven’t stopped there. I’ve also led a bold offensive to restore the American Dream through 21st century conservative reforms. My ideas are based on the simple truth that the American economy has changed significantly in recent decades and that our policies and institutions must change too if we are to access the possibilities of the 21st century. I encourage you to read and view the speeches outlining my proposals, which are available on my website at the links below:
- Fighting poverty by empowering states to empower their people
- Bringing an affordable higher education within reach of every American
- Sparking economic growth by capitalizing on innovation and the global economy
- Saving Social Security and Medicare by reforming them for future generations
- Defending our people by revitalizing America’s military strength
I also encourage you to check out this speech, which places each of these reforms into the lives of real Floridians. Just like them, my reforms would also benefit you and your family. They would give you your own set of keys to the most inclusive and dynamic economic engine ever conceived: the American free enterprise system. When that system is allowed to function as it was designed to, and when every American can access it, widespread prosperity is inevitable.
With the exciting possibilities of this century, I can’t help but be an optimist. But to attain our potential tomorrow, there is work to be done today. That work is why I ran for office. I believe that with a smart limited government approach, Americans can come together to revive the American Dream, bring it into reach of more people than ever before, and usher in an American Century even more brilliant and prosperous than the last.
Thank you. May God bless you and your family. And may God bless the United States.
Marco Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008 and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. His committee assignments currently include Commerce, Science and Transportation; Foreign Relations; Intelligence; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship. He and his wife, Jeanette, have four young children and live in West Miami.