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Mario Rafael Diaz-Balart (born September 25, 1961) is an Americanmarker politician. Since 2003 he has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, representing ( map). The district includes most of western Miami-Dade Countymarker, the mainland portion of Monroe Countymarker, and much of eastern Collier Countymarker.

Early life and education

He was born in Fort Lauderdalemarker in 1961 and attended the University of South Floridamarker to study political science before beginning his public service career as an aide to then-Miamimarker Mayor Xavier Suarez in 1985. In the same year, he changed his political party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.

Family

Diaz-Balart is the son of the late Cubanmarker politician Rafael Diaz-Balart. His aunt, Mirta Diaz-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 Diaz-Balart. His brother, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, is also a congressman, representing the 21st district of Florida. He has two other brothers, Jose Diaz-Balart, a journalist, and Rafael Diaz-Balart, a banker.

He currently lives in Miami with his wife and son.

Florida State Legislature

He was elected to the Florida House in 1988 and moved to the Florida Senate in 1992. He returned to the state House in 2000. During his second tenure in the House, he chaired the redistricting committee; it was an open secret that he drew the newly created 25th for himself. The same committee also reconfigured the 5th district for State Senate President Pro Tem Ginny Brown-Waite. It also reportedly drew Florida's other new district, the 24th, for State House Speaker Tom Feeney.

U.S. Congress

Mario Diaz-Balart's voting record is somewhat more conservative than that of the other two Cuban-Americans who represent Miami--Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and his elder brother. During his first three terms, he was one of two voting Latino members of the House—the other being Trent Franks of Arizonamarker — known to be a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

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

Committee assignments



Party leadership and Caucus membership

  • Assistant Whip
  • Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Conference
  • Founder and Co-chairman of the Everglades Caucus
  • Founder of the Protecting Families Online Initiative
  • Founding member of the Washington Waste Watchers


Position on US-Cuba Relations

Like his Cuban-American colleagues in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Diaz-Balart is a strong advocate 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."[49249]

Congressman Diaz-Balart is a member of the Congressional Cuba Democracy Caucus

Position on 2008 "Bailout"

On September 29, 2008, Diaz-Balart voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

2008 campaign

Diaz-Balart defeated Joe Garcia, former Executive Director of Cuban American National Foundation and former chairman of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party.

See also



References

External links






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