The first Cuban-American to serve in the U.S. Senate, Mel Martinez embodies the transformative power of the American dream. At the podium, Senator Martinez shares his journey from Castro’s Cuba to the U.S. Senate—and beyond. With deep insight into the most important social and political issues of our time, Senator Martinez brings a fresh perspective to the debate on immigration reform, foreign policy, American-Cuban relations, health care reform, the economy and the future of the Republican Party. Senator Martinez passionately reminds audiences that people, not governments, make the best decisions for themselves and their families. Bilingual since childhood, Martinez can speak to audiences in fluent English and Spanish.
An Evening of Politics with Mel Martinez
Senator Martinez entertains and informs in this wide-ranging political discussion based on historical incidents and current events, including the economy, foreign policy, healthcare reform, immigration reform, and the future of the Republican Party.
A Sense of Belonging: The Journey From Castro's Cuba to the U.S. Senate
Senator Martinez shares the story of his life, as reflected in his book A Sense of Belonging, tracing his roots in Sagua La Grande, Cuba to the US, and eventually to the US Senate.
As Mayor, Martinez cut property taxes by tens of millions of dollars, increased funding for public safety and instituted what has since become known as the “Martinez Doctrine”—which were unprecedented steps to ensure that development would not continue to put pressure on already crowded schools. Martinez made momentous strides in bringing affordable housing and urban services to Orlando, propelling his career to the national stage. President George W. Bush called Martinez to Washington to serve in his Cabinet as the nation’s 12th Housing and Urban Development Secretary.
As Secretary, Martinez took over the embattled agency and quickly became known for cutting millions by eliminating fraud, waste and abuse, and ensuring taxpayers’ money was spent responsibly. Under his leadership, HUD was recognized with multiple awards for exemplary achievements in providing contracting opportunities to small, disadvantaged and woman-owned businesses.
After serving three years as the HUD Secretary, Martinez returned to Florida to seek the Republican nomination for the United States Senate. He became the first Cuban-American to serve in the U.S. Senate, playing an active role in shaping policies and legislation. Martinez served on pivotal committees: the Armed Services committee, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee, and the Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee. He also served as the ranking member of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging and the Seapower Subcommittee.