Mel Martinez: A Brief Biography
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.
Contributions to Florida
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 access to a variety of medical services which were 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, Educational, and Economic Stances
Environmental-wise, Martinez supported the Florida Everglades restoration and conservation funding without tax increase. He was a strong socialist who advocated for every child's 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 the 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.
Achievements as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
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 Americans, taking into consideration minorities and 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 14,000 Cuban children escaping communist Cuba). He strongly opposed the erection of a 1,500-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 the 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 firms, DLA Piper. During this time, where he was a partner of the group, he advised on various issues ranging from litigation, government affairs, real estate, defense, and energy. Martinez has more than 268 videos in the 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 continues to mentor young people of his origin type and others (2007). Martinez's 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.