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Advocacy

FIU is thankful for the efforts of our federal partners and our Florida congressional delegation. Representing the agenda of the university in their respective committees and legislative initiatives, these members have made FIU's rise as a Carnegie top-tier institution possible as it helps federal agencies address global and domestic challenges.

Congressional Champions

FIU is thankful for the efforts of our federal partners and our Florida Congressional delegation. Representing the agenda of the university in their respective committees and legislative initiatives, these members have made FIU's rise as a Carnegie top-tier institution possible as it helps federal agencies address global and domestic challenges.

Panther Territories: Map of South Florida Congressional Districts with the most FIU Alumni

Senator Bill Nelson

Senator Nelson was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 and is now in his third term.

In 1965, Nelson joined the U.S. Army Reserve during the Vietnam War. He served on active duty from 1968 to 1970, and he remained in the Army until 1971. In 1971, he worked as legislative assistant to Governor Reubin Askew.

Senator Nelson began his public service career in the Florida House of Representatives where he served from 1973 to 1979. He then represented Florida’s 9th district in the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 1991. Nelson was appointed as treasurer, insurance commissioner, and fire marshal of Florida, serving from 1995 to 2001. In 2000, Nelson was elected to the U.S. Senate, and was re-elected in 2006 and 2012.

In January 1986, Nelson became the second sitting member of the United States Congress to fly in space. He flew as a payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Rubio was elected to the United States Senate in 2010.

His political career began as city commissioner for West Miami before being elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000, becoming the majority leader in 2003, and then Speaker in November 2006.

Before becoming Speaker, he authored the book 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future based on conversations with Floridians at "idearaisers" that he and his colleagues hosted around the state. More than half of these ideas later became laws.

In 2009, Rubio won his campaign for the U.S. Senate. In April 2015, Rubio announced his plans to run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen serves Florida's 27th Congressional District, a diverse area which includes Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Key Biscayne, Little Havana, Miami, Pinecrest, South Miami, and Westchester.

Representative Ros-Lehtinen is the first Hispanic woman and FIU alumna to be elected to Congress. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education from Florida International University in 1975 and 1985 respectively.

In 1982, she was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives and the Florida Senate in 1986, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in either body. Ros-Lehtinen was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989.

Representative Ros-Lehtinen is the Chairman emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. She also serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Congressman Carlos Curbelo

Congressman Carlos Curbelo has represented Florida's 26th Congressional District since November 2014. The 26th District is located in far South Florida and contains all of Monroe County, as well as a portion of southwest Miami-Dade County.

In 2009, Curbelo was named state director for U.S. Senator George LeMieux and was responsible for advising the senator on Latin-American policy and Hispanic issues. In 2010, he was appointed by Florida's governor to the MPO (Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization).

In November 2010, Curbelo was elected to serve on the Miami-Dade County School Board. Shortly after being elected, he was the only school board member in the state asked to serve on the Governor's Education Transition Team.

Congressman Curbelo was reelected in 2016 and serves on the prestigious House Committee on Ways and Means, which is taking the lead on healthcare and tax reform. Curbelo is also the co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Florida’s 25th Congressional District. The district stretches from the suburbs west of Miami along the northern border of the Everglades, along Alligator Alley, to communities east of Naples and Marco Island.

FIU’s College of Law is named after Diaz-Balart’s father, Rafael – a former Cuban politician.

Diaz-Balart was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002. Prior to his time in Congress, Diaz-Balart served 14 years in the Florida State Legislature in both chambers, House and Senate.

For his first two terms in Congress, Diaz-Balart was a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee. He is also a founding member of the Congressional Hispanic Conference, a caucus of Hispanic Republican Congressmen.

Diaz-Balart is a senior member of the House Committee on Appropriations and is chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, in addition to serving on the House Committee on the Budget.

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson represents Florida’s 24th Congressional District. The 24th District includes parts of northwest Miami-Dade and southern Broward counties.

Representative Wilson is a former educator, elementary school principal, community leader, school board member, state legislator, and founder of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.

Congresswoman Wilson successfully campaigned for a seat on the Miami-Dade County School Board in 1992. Subsequently, Representative Wilson won seats in the Florida House of Representatives in 1998 and the state Senate in 2002, where her peers elected her Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore and Minority Whip.

In 2010, Representative Wilson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Wilson serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce as well as the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz serves Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. The 23rd District encompasses parts Weston, Aventura, Miami Beach, and other parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

On January 4, 2005, Wasserman Schultz was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives. Before joining the U.S. Congress, she was first a state representative and later a state senator in the Florida State Legislature.

Wasserman Schultz serves as a Chief Deputy Whip and was previously the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. She is also the first Jewish congresswoman ever elected from Florida.

As a proud breast cancer survivor, Wasserman Schultz is a strong champion of women’s health awareness.

Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz serves on the House Committee on Appropriations where she serves as a ranking member of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee, in addition to the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel

Congresswoman Lois Frankel represents Florida’s 22nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which stretches from Riviera Beach in Palm Beach County to Ft. Lauderdale and Plantation in Broward County.

After serving 14 years in the Florida State Legislature, including as the first woman Democratic minority leader, Frankel became mayor of West Palm Beach in 2003.

On November 6, 2012, Frankel became the first woman to represent Florida’s 22nd congressional district. She serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Foreign Affairs committees.

Congressman Ted Deutch

Congressman Ted Deutch, 49, represents Florida's 21st district, home to communities throughout western Palm Beach County and Broward County in South Florida. 

In 2006, Deutch was elected to the Florida State Senate where he served as a senator for four years.

Deutch was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. In addition to serving as a member of the House Democracy Task Force, Deutch serves on the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus and is the creator the Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance.

Deutch is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Ethics Committee, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he serves as Ranking Democrat of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee.

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings represents Florida’s 20th District, which includes parts of Broward, Palm Beach, and Hendry counties.

Appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, Hastings became the first African-American federal judge in the State of Florida, and served in that position for 10 years. In 2007, Congressman Hastings also became the first African-American to chair the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Congressman Hastings is a senior Member of the powerful House Rules Committee. As a Senior Democratic Whip, Hastings continues to be a leading voice in the Democratic Caucus. He is also co-chairman of the Congressional Everglades Caucus. 

In the 111th Congress, Hastings served as Vice Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was a member of its Subcommittee on Terrorism, HUMINT (Human Intelligence), Analysis, and Counterintelligence, as well as the Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management.

Congressman Francis Rooney

Congressman Francis Rooney represents Florida’s 19th Congressional District, which includes an area on the west coast of Florida from Fort Myers to Marco Island. Rooney is a former businessman who brings decades of private sector experience to Washington. He and his family started Rooney Holdings, Inc., a diversified, international group of companies based in Naples, Florida.

In addition to his business career, Rooney and his family have a longstanding tradition of public and community service. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as U.S. Ambassador to The Holy See from 2005 to 2008 and has also served on numerous public and private boards, including Naples Community Hospital, the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation, The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress and the Advisory Commission of the Panama Canal.

A graduate of Georgetown University (A.B. 1975) and Georgetown University Law Center (J.D. 1978), Rooney has honorary degrees from the University of Notre Dame (2006) and the University of Dallas (2010). Congressman Rooney serves on the Education and Workforce Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, and Joint Economic Committee.

Congressman Brian Mast

Congressman Brian Mast represents Florida’s 18th Congressional District, which includes Port St. Lucie and Martin counties as well as a portion of Palm Beach County.

Prior to his election to Congress, Mast followed in his father’s footsteps by serving in the U.S. Army for more than 12 years, earning medals including The Bronze Star Medal, The Army Commendation Medal for Valor, The Purple Heart Medal, and The Defense Meritorious Service Medal. While deployed in Afghanistan, he worked as a bomb disposal expert under the elite Joint Special Operations Command. The last improvised explosive device that he found resulted in catastrophic injuries, which included the loss of both of his legs.

Congressman Mast remained on active duty following the injuries and provided expertise to the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms during his recovery process. After his retirement from the Army, he continued working in counter-terrorism and national defense as an Explosive Specialist with the Department of Homeland Security. Mast subsequently received a degree from the Harvard Extension School and volunteered to serve alongside the Israel Defense Forces to show support for the freedom Israel represents throughout the Middle East and the world.

Congressman Mast is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.