ENG: Mario Rafael Diaz-Balart Caballero (born September 25, 1961) is the current U.S. Representative for Florida's 25th congressional district, serving since 2013. A member of the Republican Party, he was elected in 2010 to succeed his brother, Lincoln Diaz-Balart. The district includes the city of Hialeah, along with several of Miami's southwestern suburbs. He previously served Florida's 21st congressional district from 2011 to 2013, and Florida's 25th congressional district from 2003 to 2011.
Early life, education, and early political career
Diaz-Balart was born in Fort Lauderdale in 1961 to the late Cuban politician Rafael Diaz-Balart. His aunt, Mirta Diaz-Balart, was the first wife of Fidel Castro.
Her son, and his cousin, is Fidel Ángel "Fidelito" Castro Díaz-Balart. His uncle is the Cuban-Spanish painter, Waldo Diaz-Balart. His brother, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, represented Florida's 21st District from 1993 to 2011. He has two other brothers, Jose Diaz-Balart, a journalist, and Rafael Diaz-Balart, a banker.
He attended the University of South Florida to study political science before beginning his public service career as an aide to then-Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez in 1985. In the same year, he changed his political party affiliation from Democratic to Republican.
He was elected to the Florida House in 1988 and moved to the Florida Senate in 1992.
He returned to the Florida House in 2000. During his second tenure in the House, he chaired the redistricting committee.
U.S. House of Representatives - Elections - 2008
Diaz-Balart defeated Joe Garcia, former Executive Director of Cuban American National Foundation and former chairman of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party.
On February 11, 2010, Diaz-Balart announced his intention to seek election in Florida's 21st congressional district -- being vacated by his brother, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart -- rather than the 25th district. Although it is widely believed that Mario Diaz-Balart drew the 25th for himself, it is actually a slightly marginal district on paper.
In contrast, the 21st is considered the most Republican district in the Miami area.
No other party even put up a candidate when filing closed on April 30, handing the seat to Mario Diaz-Balart. Indeed, since the 21st's creation, the Republican candidate has run unopposed in all but two elections.
Diaz-Balart is running unopposed in the general election.
Mario Diaz-Balart's voting record is somewhat more conservative than that of the other two Cuban-Americans who represent Miami--Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Rivera. Unlike the other Cuban American representatives from Miami, Diaz-Balart is a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
He is a founding member of the Congressional Hispanic Conference, a caucus of Hispanic Republican congressmen. Like his Cuban-American colleagues in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Diaz-Balart is a strong advocate of maintaining the Cuban embargo, saying "Some people do not understand the embargo of Cuba. Its purpose is to keep American hard currency out of the hands of a Communist thug by restricting most trade and travel."
On September 29, 2008, Diaz-Balart voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
He currently lives in Miami with his wife and son.
January 23, 2013