Marco Rubio’s Top 5 Accomplishments

Marco Rubio’s Top 5 Accomplishments

Florida Senator Marco Rubio / AP

As a continuation of “The Contenders” series at Opportunity Lives, we examine the biggest five achievements of announced or potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates. 

1

Fighting for Conservative Ideas… and Winning

Marco Rubio, Oria Rubio

(Marco Rubio stands with his mother, Oria Rubio, after winning election to Florida’s Senate seat in 2010)

If one had polled the “smart set” of Washington, D.C. a year before the 2010 midterm elections, it would probably have been concluded that the Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat former governor Charlie Christ would be in the U.S. Senate. The little-known Speaker of the House in the Sunshine State captivated conservatives and soon, his base of support began to swell. On Election Day, Rubio took nearly 49 percent of the vote, while the previously presumptive favorite Crist came in a distant second with only 30 percent of the vote. The Democrat came in third with 20 percent. Rubio shocked the political world by his unlikely ascent, proving that when articulated by a messenger willing to fight on the battlefield of ideas, conservatism has a broad appeal and can win at the ballot box.

2

Human Rights

rubio venezuela

(Sen. Rubio gives a passionate speech on the Senate floor in defense of protestors against Venezuela’s oppressive regime)

There is perhaps no greater advocate for human rights in the U.S. Senate than Marco Rubio. Since 2011, Florida’s junior senator has worked diligently to develop a legislative portfolio that focuses intently upon improving the welfare of people across the globe. He has been especially vocal about abuses in countries like Venezuela and Cuba, the latter being of particular interest to him as the son of refugees from the communist nation. His role on the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has provided Rubio with an informed perspective on America’s unique role in the world, and consequently, unmistakable responsibility to give a voice to the voiceless.

3

Reforming the Tax Code

Mike Lee, Marco Rubio

(Rubio joins Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, left, speak about their tax reform proposal in April 2015)

When he was first elected to the U.S. Senate, grassroots conservatives were excited to see a lot of Marco Rubio. With the exception of a 2013 State of the Union response, he has largely kept out of the limelight, content instead to quietly learn issues inside and out, as well as propose his own creative solutions to problems facing the country. His Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Plan, co-authored with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), seeks to even the fiscal playing field by lowering tax rates, broadening the base and eliminating wasteful loopholes that reward cronyism and connectivity. His proposal would simplify the tax code to just two brackets, making things easier for families and businesses, helping our economy grow.

4

Tackling Educational Challenges

Marco Rubio, Ron Brownstein, Mariana Atencio

(Rubio takes questions from Ron Brownstein of Atlantic Media, left, and Mariana Atencio of Fusion after delivering a keynote address in 2014 detailing his policy reforms for higher education)

Like his fellow Floridian Jeb Bush, Rubio has focused on improving educational choices for students and their families. Two of his most prominent proposals address higher education problems. First, he proposed that Congress establish an independent accreditation board that would determine whether or not free online courses could serve as transferrable credits, as well as the potential for workers to obtain certifications or degrees outside of traditional institutions that offer them, providing greater educational flexibility to Americans. Rubio also offered legislation that would create an alternative to student loans. These finance vehicles, Reuters explains, would create agreements where “private investors or organizations provide students with financing for their education costs in exchange for a percentage of their future earnings.”

5

Defending Freedom

Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson

(Rubio speaks at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Islamic State in September, 2014. Rubio has called for a more active American military operation against ISIS)

Rubio has been an unwavering advocate for America’s military, as well as a thoughtful, proactive strategy in dealing with threats to our security. He is regarded by his colleagues as one of the brightest minds on foreign affairs and security issues, and he has been relentless in his demand that government officials acknowledge the severity of the challenges we face. From Iran to Russia, Rubio’s policy breadth on these matters gives him extraordinary credibility as Americans are dismayed by the lack of leadership and persistent strategic disarray of the current administration.

Ellen Carmichael is a Washington, D.C.-based political consultant. She has served as a senior communications adviser for a Republican presidential campaign, Members of Congress and statewide elected officials. Follow her on Twitter @ellencarmichael.