Melquiades Rafael Martinez Ruiz

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Melquiades Rafael Martinez Ruiz, usually referred to as Mel Martinez, was born in October 1946. He was a former congressman and lobbyist who served from 2005 to 2009 as the Florida Representative for the United States of America (Tanne, 2009). He has served when Gorge Bush was the president as the twelfth minister of housing and economic planning. A Roman Catholic, Martinez is a Cuban-American. He was the first U.S. Hispanic senator, along with Ken Salazar. On December 12, 2003, after Senator Bob Graham retired, he resigned from his U.S. cabinet post to run for the vacated Senate seat. On December 2, 2008, he announced that he would not be running in 2010 for reelections. On October 7, 2009 it was announced that Martinez had resigned from his senate post with new news claiming he would become a lobbyist.

Mel Martinez played an important part in shaping Florida in various fields. Martinez strongly supported the development of private commercial institutions over the government driven health care facilities making people get accessed to variety of medical services which where convenient in terms of proximity (Diaz, 2011). This facilitated the employment of young workers and people got access to cheap drugs from Canada. During his time, he highly criticized Fidel Castro violations of human rights and dictatorship. Unlike Castro he supported the funding of groups, tightening of travel restrictions and economic blockade, which fostered the presence of a fair foreign policy.

Environmental wise, Martinez supported the Florida Everglades restoration and conservation funding without tax increase. He was a strong socialist who advocated for every Childs education through supporting the no child left behind act, standardized testing and school vouchers. In the economic field Martinez advocated for tax cuts, reduction of employer regulation and free trade. Martinez was pro-life and supported education forums to reduce the rate of abortions and advocated for other possible alternatives such as adoptions rather than abortion. He took a no nonsense approach in fighting terrorism to foster homeland security. Still on security, he advocated for right to bear arms. Being a religious person, Martinez opposed the godless rebels’ efforts for the removal of every display made to the public which had a religious significance. He also supported the constitutional amendment that was meant to ban marriages amongst people of the same gender.

When Martinez was in charge of the department of housing and urban development (HUD) he accomplished various tasks. Under his leadership as the secretary, HUD increased home ownership opportunities to the Americans taking into consideration the minorities and the low income families (Taylor, 2007). Martinez was very centrist in the issue of migration of immigration reform due to his childhood experience (he was among the 14000 Cuban children escaping communist Cuba). He strongly opposed the erection of 1500 mile long wall along the US Mexico border. Martinez said, “What the wall symbolizes is not what we want- the face of America we want to show”. Martinez supported DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) which aimed to provide education and permanent citizenship for the undocumented immigrants’ minors.

Two weeks after Martinez resigned he joined a lobbying shop in one of the greatest law firm, DLA Piper. During this time, where he was partner of the group, he advised on various issues ranging from; litigation, government affairs, real estate, defence and energy. Martinez has more than 268 videos in C-SPAN video library, which his first appearance was in the 2000. According to Taylor, through this media he communicates his ideas to the public and continue to mentor young people of his origin type and others (2007). Martinez efforts have played a great part in the modern Florida through his amendments, policies, campaigns and activism making it a better place.


Tanne, J. H. (2009). US Senate committee investigates conflicts of interest in industry funded medical education.

Diaz, L. M. (2011). Hispanic Leaders for the Larger Community: The Surge in the Hispanic Population Creates Opportunities for Increased Diversity and Inclusiveness. Cal. WL Rev., 48, 425.

Taylor, G. (2007). Federal insurance reform after Katrina. Miss. LJ, 77, 783.

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