Mel Martinez on Principles & Values

Republican Jr Senator (FL); previously Secretary of H.U.D.


Born in Cuba; came to US in Operation Peter Pan at age 15

Soon after the 2008 election, one of our US senators, Mel Martinez, called to tell me he had decided not to run for reelection in 2010. The call came as a surprise. There was no reason to think Mel couldn't have been reelected. I knew that Mel had grown extremely frustrated with Washington's failure to adopt comprehensive immigration reform.

That was an issue Mel cared deeply about--and not just because he represented Florida in the US Senate. Mel had his own amazing immigrant story. Born in Sagua La Grande, Cuba, he was 15 years old and spoke virtually no English when he was brought to America in a humanitarian effort called Operation Peter Pan. He lived in youth facilities and foster homes for 4 years before being reunited with his family in Orlando. He finished college and law school and became a successful lawyer.

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p.186-187 , Feb 4, 2014

Great political risk to GOP becoming the party of exclusion

Republicans must directly engage Hispanics if they have any hope of winning their votes. The current predicament was nothing if not predictable. Mel Martinez warned more than 5 years ago, "I think there would be great political risks to becoming the party of exclusion, and not a party of inclusion."

He was right. Republicans will face an ever-shrinking base--and ultimately extinction--if they continue to alienate the voters they lost in great numbers in 2012, including single women, blacks & gays.

Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p.223 , Mar 5, 2013

1st Cuban-American elected to the U.S. Senate

Castro's dictatorship was taking hold on the island. In 2004 he'd become the 1st Cuban American ever elected to the US Senate. Martinez is a Cuban American who came to the US in Operation Pedro Pan, a US program in which 14,000 Cuban children were sent by their parents to the US between 1960 and 1962 as
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.145-146 , Jun 19, 2012

Call to public service strong, but call to family stronger

If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that life can have many wonderful detours from where you think you're going. These result from chance, adversity, and a call to duty.

The Senate is the only federal office carrying a six-year term, so a decision about whether to run for re-election is one that my family and I have carefully considered over the past year.

The inescapable truth, for me, is that the call to public service is strong, but the call to home, family and lifelong friends is even stronger. So today, with deep love for this country and with sincere gratitude to the people who placed their trust in me, I announce that I will not run for reelection to the US Senate.

So with two years left in my term, I make this announcement today in order to give the many qualified individuals who might choose to try to succeed me an opportunity to organize and gather support. I look forward to serving out these next two years.

Source: Retirement announcement speech, in Orlando Florida , Dec 2, 2008

Voted with Republican Party 87.8% of 320 votes.

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), was scored by the Washington Post on the percentage of votes on which a lawmaker agrees with the position taken by a majority of his or her party members. The scores do not include missed votes. Their summary:
Voted with Republican Party 87.8% of 320 votes.
Overall, Democrats voted with their party 88.4% of the time, and Republicans voted with their party 81.7% of the time (votes Jan. 8 through Sept. 8, 2007).
Source: Washington Post, “US Congress Votes Database” , Sep 8, 2007

Protect our freedom and our core values

Tonight I stand before you - eternally grateful to this nation where dreams come true. I have lived the American dream, and I am determined to ensure the possibility of that dream for others. I am here tonight to urge my fellow Americans to join me in protecting our freedom, our core values, and this free land. I am here to ask you to reelect President George W. Bush. He is a good friend and a man who values freedom with all his heart. He is a steadfast leader who is protecting the land we love and the freedoms we cherish. President Bush and I believe in the promise of America - the promise that regardless of where you came from, what language you speak, the color of your skin or your economic circumstances, if you share the American dream of freedom and opportunity and you pursue it with hard work, respect, and an abiding faith in God, then all things are possible.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Speech , Sep 1, 2004

Escaped communist Cuba at age 15

Mel Martinez escaped communist Cuba at age 15 as a part of “Operation Peter Pan,” a humanitarian program that helped over 14,000 Cuban children escape Communist Cuba. Mel arrived in Florida with only one suitcase, the clothes on his back and an enduring love of the game of baseball. He taught himself the language and assimilated into American life. 4 years later, when he was reunited in Orlando with his parents and his siblings, Mel had already lined up a job for his father who had been a veterinarian in Cuba. Mel had also saved $300--enough to buy the family a used car.

After graduating from high school, he attended Florida State University, where he received his undergraduate and law degrees. Mel was the first popularly elected Republican to serve as Orange County Chairman. Mel quickly earned a reputation as a bold leader, a tax-cutter, and a champion of law enforcement. Mel and his wife of 33 years, Kitty, have three children and two grandchildren. They reside in Orlando.

Source: Press Release, “Anti-Terrorism Technology ” , Aug 11, 2004

Support public displays of religious devotion

Martinez will vote to confirm federal judges that will base their decisions on sound legal principles & respect the free exercise of religion, and stand up to the liberal agenda of removing all public displays of religious devotion from American society.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, MelforSenate.org, “Issues” , Jul 2, 2004

Appreciates serving as HUD Secretary, thanks America

“I am an example that with hard work - anything in America is possible. Our country provided me with freedom and opportunity. I came to this great land with nothing, and forty years later I was the first Cuban-American to serve in the Cabinet. And with the support of Florida citizens, we will make history by electing me as the first Cuban-American United States Senator--- what a country!”
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, www.MelForSenate.org , Mar 24, 2004

No Senate run in 2004, but maybe governor in 2006

HUD Secretary Mel Martinez has ruled out running for a US Senate seat next year. Instead, he plans to remain in President Bush’s Cabinet through the 2004 presidential election, then assess his chances to succeed the president’s brother as Florida governor in 2006. “I really view myself as more in the executive mold than I do in the legislative mold,” Martinez said. “I’m not running for the US Senate,” he said. “I can close that door and close it shut.”

Martinez, 56, has avoided addressing his political future since speculation began earlier this year that GOP strategists were leaning on him to seek the seat of Sen. Bob Graham, a Democrat pursuing the nomination for president. Martinez, who fled Cuba as a teenager, has been touted by some Republicans as someone who could produce a massive turnout among Republican-leaning Cuban-American voters in South Florida. Hispanic voters in central Florida, his home region, are considered a key constituent in the state’s electoral battleground.

Source: Associated Press on CNN.com , Jun 17, 2003

Voted YES on confirming of Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court.

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. In her opening statement, Judge Sotomayor pledged a "fidelity to the law:"
"In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law--it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress's intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand."
Reference: Supreme Court Nomination; Bill PN506 ; vote number 2009-S262 on Aug 6, 2009

Voted YES on confirming Samuel Alito as Supreme Court Justice.

Vote on the Nomination -- a YES vote would to confirm Samuel A. Alito, Jr., of New Jersey, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Reference: Alito Nomination; Bill PN 1059 ; vote number 2006-002 on Jan 31, 2006

Voted YES on confirming John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Vote on the Nomination (Confirmation John G. Roberts, Jr., of Maryland, to be Chief Justice of the United States )
Reference: Supreme Court Nomination of John Roberts; Bill PN 801 ; vote number 2005-245 on Sep 27, 2005

Rated B by the Club for Growth, pro-growth but not targeted.

Martinez scores B by the Club for Growth, a conservative PAC

The GOP controls the Senate by just one vote. Even with today’s margin, the GOP doesn’t have effective control of the agenda as the Democrats use the filibuster to kill pro-growth reform or crucial judicial appointments. The next Senate could confirm two U.S. Supreme Court justices.

If the Republicans do manage to pick up a few extra seats in the Senate, there could also be an ideological shift toward pro-growth issues. Right now, the balance of power is in the hands of the RINO Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter. With a seat pick-up for the GOP, plus the addition of GOP superstars, Olympia and Arlen would no longer be deciding votes. We could move away from watered-down Republicanism toward a genuine pro-growth agenda.

Members of the Club are economic conservatives, like-minded political contributors who are frustrated with the ideological drift of both parties today. Club members have a shared goal of contributing to and electing more Reaganites to Congress who are willing to stand for the issues like: cutting taxes, controlling federal spending, personal accounts for Social Security, ending the death tax, eliminating the capital gains tax, fundamental tax reform, providing true school choice and minimizing government's role in our daily lives.

The stakes are mighty high in the Senate elections. That’s why we’re providing you now with our outlook for every competitive Senate race and a list of our top tier choices. The “A” List Candidates make this list because their races are competitive and they are the very best on economic issues. The “B” List Candidates are all in hotly contested races too, but they are not as rock solid on economic growth issues.

Source: CFG website 04n-CFG on Sep 21, 2004

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