We’re finishing up our profiles on political candidates with Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida. We hope that this series has been helpful to start your research on the 2016 presidential candidates. Don’t forget to vote!
Name: Marco Rubio
Party Affiliation: Republican
Government Positions Held: United States Senator from Florida (2011); Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives (2006-2008); Member of the Florida House of Representatives (2000-2008)
Education: B.A. in Political Science from University of Florida, J.D. from University of Miami
Science Research Funding: Rubio has expressed his enthusiastic support for projects such as the mission to Pluto. However, Rubio has supported budget cuts for NASA, which limits its funding for earth science research. Regarding embryonic stem cell research, Rubio is against government funding of such projects. Rubio has not commented on whether he plans to increase funding for government-funded research entities like the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.
Climate Change and Alternative Energy: Despite his position as Chair of Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, Rubio “claims he is not a scientist” and defers to “what the Bible says” on questions about earth science. In 2014, Rubio’s views on climate change and alternative energy echoed that of many in his party. “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it, and I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy.” However, in a recent debate, Rubio claimed his is “not skeptical” of climate change, but maintained that proposed solutions by the Obama administration and other democrats will destroy our economy.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Rubio has not publically expressed his views on GMOs. Importantly, in 2013, Rubio voted against a bill that would allow states to require GMO food labelling.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education: Unlike many of the other candidates Rubio has specifically addressed his support for STEM education and historically has made it a priority in his education platforms. In 2010, Rubio released a 12-point education plan, which included an item to “overcome the science, technology, engineering and mathematics crisis.” In 2013, Rubio co-sponsored a bill which aimed to increase visas for immigrant workers in STEM fields and promote STEM education. Most recently, Rubio and democratic senator Bob Casey, introduced the Computer Science Education and Jobs Act.
Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): Rubio outlined his Obamacare alternative in an article for Politico Magazine. Essentially, Rubio believes “Obamacare is fatally flawed” and has fought against it during his time in the senate. Rubio’s plan has three points: (1) “create an advanceable, refundable tax credit that all Americans can use to purchase health insurance”, (2) “reform insurance regulations to lower costs, encourage innovation, and protect the vulnerable”, and (3) “save and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid by placing them on fiscally-sustainable paths.”
Vaccines: Rubio has come out strongly in support of vaccines, claiming “all children should be vaccinated.” Rubio also stated “There is absolutely no medical science or data what so ever that links those vaccinations to onset of autism or anything of that nature.” Rubio even hinted at support of government mandated vaccines asserting “I believe that all children, as is the law in most states in this country, before they can even attend school, have to be vaccinated for a certain panel.”
Summary: Rubio’s record of unwillingness to expand government funding on programs such as NASA and alternative energy research may be discouraging. However, he is one of the few candidates that has specifically addressed improving the state of STEM education in the U.S. and Rubio’s detailed healthcare plan and strong support of vaccines indicates that the health of Americans is a major priority of his.