United States Senator Marco Rubio (Florida) is among the leading Republican Presidential candidates, and this week he exclusively spoke to the Call & Post Newspaper to explain how, if elected, he pledges to restore the American Dream to minorities and African Americans.
Rubio’s passion about restoring the American Dream resonates from his humble beginnings.
His parents came to America from Cuba in 1956 and earned their way to the middle class, working humble jobs. His father was a bartender in hotels and his mother worked as a maid, cashier and retail clerk. It was through their loving and powerful example, Rubio learned the importance of work and family, and developed the belief that all things are possible in America.
The native of West Miami, where he still resides with my wife Jeanette and their four children, Rubio loves the South Florida community because of its incredible diversity of people, in many ways a reflection of America.
However, Black communities throughout America are struggling, with its middle class shrinking and poverty growing.
Rubio says that he plans to address issues such as those that appear to be systemic in America, if he is elected president.
He says those striving to make it, and those fortunate enough to have climbed beyond it, is what fuels him.
Rubio points to homes led by heroic single moms, two hard working parents, and even homes with multiple generations living together, like his sister’s, which houses not only her husband and children but also his mother, as examples of achieving the American Dream.
He felt drawn to serve people like these in public office, a career that began as a City Commissioner for West Miami, onto being elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000, and then Speaker in November 2006.
Rubio won election to represent Florida in the United States Senate in 2010.
Now, Rubio is driven by his passion for the American Dream to run for the highest office in the free world, President of the United States of America, and he believes the African American vote will be significant.
As the nation celebrates the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rubio was asked how Dr. King’s vision inspired him.
“I think his vision was perfecting what America was supposed to be about in the first place, which is a place where everyone was allowed to fulfill whatever dreams they have for their lives on the basis of your merit, your talent and your work. Not on the basis of who you are or where you came from,” he explained.
He elaborated further, “For me that was important because my parents did not come from this country. My parents weren’t rich or famous people, the fact that I wasn’t limited by the fact that my parents were immigrants.”
Rubio has been candid and outspoken about police brutality that has afflicted the Black community, often to the dismay of some in his own party and he also admitted that America has a problem in race relations with Blacks.
If elected president, Rubio stated that; “First of all I would admit there we have a problem, that there is a significant portion of people in the minority community especially young African Americans males who feel that they are treated differently and they feel that way for a lot of reasons. In some jurisdictions, although I have tremendous respect and admiration for law enforcement and the majority of people in law enforcement do a great job, there are communities in this country where law enforcement does not have a good relationship with the community and as a result creates a situation where people feel they are being targeted because of who they are and not what they do. Irrespective of whether or not people agree with me, as long as people in America feel this way, we have a problem and we have to address it.”
He then added: “I think the first thing I would do as president is acknowledge that it existed. A lot of these things have to do with the way local law enforcement operates, it wouldn’t necessarily be a federal issue. I do think there are impediments that people in the minority communities face that are disproportionate to the rest of the country.”
Rubio continued; “For example, not just the African American community, but Hispanic community and others, children growing-up in single parent homes, sometimes no parent homes or their grandparents are raising them but others kids as well. They live in substandard housing and a dangerous neighborhood with no access to healthcare, the schools are failing and these kids are born with five or six strikes against them.”
The witty candidate warned, “ Unless something happens to shift that dynamic these kids are going to struggle to succeed, the statistics tells us that and anecdotally we know that. Then you have young people make a mistake, they commit maybe not a serious crime, they get assigned a public defender and the public defender has 5000 cases they are handling so they convince this young 18-year old to plead guilty, and now they are a convicted criminal.”
“Even worse they are arrested and are put in jail and now they are inter acting with harden criminals and that has an impact on the future of them, so I think we need to look at ways for non-violent first time offenders to divert them away from the criminal justice system so they avoid having things on their record.”
Rubio was also adamant about school choice. “The only people in America who do not have school choice are poor people and a disproportionate of poor people in America happen to be raised in single parent homes and living in minority communities.”
The top tier candidate is looking forward to coming to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention in July.
He is aware of the high concentration of Blacks and the alarming high rate of poverty in the Northeast Ohio City.
“The cause of poverty is the inability to find a good paying job. That happens to be, because either people don’t have the skills or other impediment in their life that or keeping them from doing or the jobs are not being created. We have to deal with all three of them,” Rubio told the Call & Post.
“What we are doing in this country now, especially at the federal level with poverty isn’t working. We are not curing poverty. We’re dealing with the pain of poverty, we are alleviating the pain, we are making it easier to buy housing and eat and pay your bills, and all these things are important, but we are not curing poverty. We are not helping people find a job or acquire the skills to find a job to turn their lives around and not rely on government.”
His solution: “Turn the poverty programs over to local communities, because they are going to design programs better than the one size fits all approach of the federal government.”
Rubio shared that all poverty is not the same and many of them have different symptom associated with it that requires different solutions.
He blamed stale federal programming that forces individuals to spend their money in ways that may not be specifically best for them.
He wants to empower local community non-profits such as churches who feels are doing a better job than government.
“The most important thing I can do is the pursue policies that make America the best place in the world to create better paying jobs. We are losing too many jobs to other countries and the jobs that are being created, don’t pay enough.”
In almost every national presidential poll Rubio is the only Republican candidate who is clearly favored to defeat Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton. However, he continues lose traction on leading candidate Donald Trump.
When asked if he was concerned.
“I don’t think a poll today is going to tell us how this thing is going to end up in November. We know it will be very competitive, the country remains very divided. There are people polled who will only vote for one party or another, but there are people who are willing to change their minds and vote for someone in another party, and that’s what we are going to focus on. There are people who have not heard from Republicans in a long time, people who clean hotel rooms and park cars at hotels and people who use to work at a factory that shut down, people that are struggling to open-up and run a small business, the kid to takes two buses in the morning to get to college because they want a better life and get up at 5a.m., the single mom raising two kids on her own, only making $10 an hour. If I’m our nominee they are going to hear from us.”