When Marco Rubio was sworn in as Florida’s new House speaker, he became the first of the state’s proud Cuban-American community to assume one of Florida’s most powerful elected offices.
Rubio’s tough message to his House colleagues: Partisan politics needs to stop at the door. "Reject the political culture we have inherited, and in its place create one worthy of the great people whom we serve," he said.
Among the youngest House speakers at 35, Rubio is a family man with three young children, and the son of Cuban immigrants.
He’s proud of his heritage, but downplays his success story. "It really is not much different from that of millions of people who come to this country and within a generation or so were fully incorporated into this country, the only one in the world that you could do that," he explained.
In the midst of the ceremony and celebration are the serious issues facing the state that will set the tone for the legislative session.
The insurance crisis is at the top of the list.
Governor-elect Charlie Crist is staying positive. "There’s a lot of work to do and I am confident, particularly after hearing the message of the House speaker and Senate president that we’re all on the same page," he stated.
However, with a tough young House speaker determined to make his own mark, you can count on some heated battles ahead.