Who is Mel Martinez?

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 11 November 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: November 28 - US Peace Corps Press Release: HUD Secretary visits PC Headquarters: Who is Mel Martinez?

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 3:41 pm: Edit Post

Caption: Orange County Commission Chairman Mel Martinez testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, March 1, in Washington. Martinez was picked by Bush to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. (Joe Marquette/AP Photo)

Who is Mel Martinez? Read this story from ABC News on Secretary Martinez at:

Mel Martinez: Politico Superstar in the Making

Mel Martinez: Politico Superstar in the Making

From an Orphaned Immigrant to HUD Secretary

Dec. 20 — Mel Martinez is one of the next-generation of political superstars and a loyal Bush family supporter, according to colleagues.

As President-elect George W. Bush’s choice for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, though, the Orange County Chairman has little experience with public housing issues, especially on a national level. He served as chairman of the Orlando Housing Authority from 1984 to 1986. But other than that, his involvement in housing issues has been limited to matters peripheral to his role as the county’s chief executive officer for the past two years. As the interview process proceeded for the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Martinez said he believed his trendsetting role in trying to curb growth in crowded school districts shows that he is serious about housing issues.

Superstar in Florida

Martinez is a “next-generation political superstar,” according to Florida state Republican leader Tom Slade. As part of Martinez’s efforts on behalf of George W. Bush’s election run, he spoke to mayors across the country. Cuban-born Martinez, 54, left his native Cuba for the United States when he was 15 years old. It was 1962 and he spoke virtually no English. He was taken in by foster families, arranged through a Catholic services organization, until his family was able to join him in Orlando in 1966. He went on to get his law degree from Florida State University in 1973. He was elected as Orange County’s chairman in 1998. The post is akin to a mayoral position as the post oversees such issues as school overcrowding, the county’s finances, public safety and transportation. Since his election to a four-year term, Martinez embarked on an ambitious program emphasizing public safety, growth management, the needs of children and families, clean neighborhoods, improved transportation and streamlining government.

To Elian’s Side

Under his reign, Orange County reduced property tax rates twice, the first tax rate cuts in the county in 12 years. Many people predicted that Martinez’s eyes were focused far beyond Orange County from the beginning of his political career. “If you’re going to be in the game, you might as well go beyond the local arena,” he told reporters at this year’s Republican convention, where he spoke with party officials about his political future. Martinez co-chaired (with eight others) the Florida Bush campaign and was an outspoken advocate of the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez in South Florida. He even took Elian to Disney World for a day. “I’m still in the ‘This-can’t-be-happening-to-me’ mode of thinking,” Martinez said from Tallahassee late Monday as the boarding was called for his Washington flight.

By Mel for Senate (adsl-67-127-53-184.dsl.pltn13.pacbell.net - on Sunday, January 11, 2004 - 3:08 am: Edit Post

Senate Campaign questions for Mel Martinez

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