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Young Republican politician Marco Rubio won an impressive victory in his 2009 campaign for one of Florida's seats in the U.S. Senate.
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Born in Miami, Florida in 1971, Marco Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants. After earning a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida in 1993, he went to the University of Miami for his law degree. Rubio's political career began with his election to the West Miami City Commission in 1998. He was elected in the Florida House of Representatives the following year. In 2009, Rubio won his campaign for the U.S. Senate.
"Americans chose a limited government that exists to protect our rights, not to grant them."
"Many of the things that make America unique are threatened by politicians in Washington, D.C."
A rising star in the Republican Party, Marco Rubio scored an impressive victory when he scored a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2009. He is one of four children born to Cuban immigrants. Both of his parents worked hard to support the family. His father spent many years as a bartender and his mother held a number of service industry and retail jobs. For Rubio, he became interested in public service early on. He has told the press, "I gained an interest in politics and history from my uncle, who would read books and newspapers out loud to us."
Born in Miami, Rubio spent part of his childhood in Las Vegas, Nevada. The family, however, returned to Florida in the 1980s. A stellar athlete, Rubio was a top football player at South Miami High School. He graduated in 1989 and earned a football scholarship to Tarkio College in Missouri. Rubio left the school after a year and eventually enrolled at the University of Florida. After completing his bachelor's degree there in 1993, he earned a law degree from the University of Miami in 1996.
Rubio began his life in public service in 1998 by winning a seat on the West Miami City Commission. Before long, he made his ascent into state politics. Rubio was victorious in his bid for the Florida House of Representatives in 1999. He quickly established himself as a political force with the legislature, becoming the majority leader in 2003 and then speaker of the House three years later.
As the speaker, Rubio launched an ambitious campaign to generate ways to improve and reform the state government. He held a series of gatherings around the state to hear and collect ideas from Florida residents. Culling from these suggestions, Rubio put together a proposal called "100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future." He presented the proposal to the legislature and more than half of these ideas became laws. One of these reforms, however, didn't survive the political process. The fiscally conservative Rubio had lobbied for property tax reforms and for instituting a sales tax increase.
In 2009, Rubio surprised many in Florida politics by taking on former Florida governor and Republican Charlie Crist for the Senate seat vacated by Mel Martinez. Analysts initially viewed Rubio as the underdog, and he trailed the better-known Crist in the polls at first. But the well-spoken young politician hammered at Crist for his ties to President Barack Obama, and emphasized the state's dire need for economic change. "I'm in this race to win. Many of the things that make America unique are threatened by politicians in Washington, D.C. We're going to make irreversible decisions over the next four to six years.
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