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Rubio Campaign Press Release - Here's What Marco Rubio Did for Florida When He Was House Speaker

February 09, 2016


After being elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000, and being selected as majority whip and then majority leader, Marco served as Speaker of the House in 2007 and 2008.

A few main points stand out about his tenure: He governed conservatively, he governed on new, conservative ideas, and he amassed an impressive record of accomplishment even during some tough years for the Florida economy.

Even while the Florida economy was slowing as the housing bubble ebbed, and Florida's revenues dropped, Marco balanced the budget both years without raising taxes, and passed budgets with less spending than Governor Charlie Crist and the State Senate wanted.

As House Speaker, his pro-growth record earned him a 100 percent rating from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and in 2006, he had a 100 percent rating from the National Federation of Independent Business. Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said Marco as Speaker was "the most pro-taxpayer legislative leader in the country."

Further, Marco explicitly campaigned for Speaker on a platform of ideas, laying out in a book 100 policy proposals that he gathered from meeting with Floridians across the state.

In the two years he had as term-limited speaker, Marco's hard work turned many of these ideas into reality, improving how the government worked for Floridians on everything from education and health care to protecting their property rights or improving vehicle registration.

Here are just some of the ideas he made happen:

Eminent Domain

Just before Marco was speaker, when the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Kelo vs. the City of New London formally gave governments nationwide the right to seize private property not just for infrastructure projects but also for any economic development project, Marco led the effort to curtail government's eminent domain powers in Florida. He ran a bipartisan committee that examined how to stop governments from seizing property to hand over to private developers. He sponsored both a law and a constitutional amendment to prevent eminent domain abuse, and they both passed, earning the state an A grade from the Castle Coalition, which assesses states on their respect for property rights.

Higher Education

Marco has talked about the importance of supporting vocational education and college alternatives on the campaign trail, and his record on the issue stretches back to his time in the Florida House: He successfully saw through the creation of "career academies" to allow high schoolers to begin learning a trade, encouraged community colleges to focus on high-demand trades and majors, and made the transfer of credits between state higher education institutions easier.

K-12 Education

A number of education reforms from Marco's 100 Ideas became law, including an expansion of the state's school choice scholarship program that empowers parents, the promotion of new programs for gifted students, the creation of public-private partnerships for after-school programs and other school services, and easier access to virtual schooling. The House also passed a sweeping law to expand education opportunities for children with disabilities, and ultimately made law a bill focused on helping children with autism.

Two more 100 Ideas promises Marco made happen: He passed the legislation to raise Florida's K-12 educational standards significantly, create a world-class curriculum without Washington's involvement, and improve school measurement and accountability systems, and he helped create the Miami Children's Initiative, a "children's zone" first suggested in 100 Ideas and modeled after the highly successful Harlem Children's Zone.

Small Government & Government Transparency

In 100 Ideas for Florida's Future, Marco proposed the idea of a Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee for Florida, modeled on a committee in the Texas legislature, that would review laws on a regular basis for necessity and effectiveness — and he made it happen. In 100 Ideas Marco also championed the principle of transparency, following through on ideas like creating a public website to detail the state's budget and requiring accountability for state-funded hospitals.


100 Ideas set forth a number of ideas to cut crime in Florida communities. Under Marco's leadership, bills became law that registered sex offenders' online identities, toughened penalties on repeat sex offenders, expanded efforts to collect DNA evidence from felons, and increased law-enforcement efforts and penalties for gang activity.

Executive Power

Marco stood up against Governor Charlie Crist's executive overreach: The House blocked Crist's unauthorized attempt to impose a liberal cap-and-trade scheme on Florida, and Marco stopped an unconstitutional Crist attempt to expand gambling in the state.

When Marco delivered his final speech as speaker, though, he didn't just focus on political accomplishments — he also gave a moving testimony about his own faith and the larger purpose we all have as Americans.

Marco Rubio, Rubio Campaign Press Release - Here's What Marco Rubio Did for Florida When He Was House Speaker Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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