Florida Senator Marco Rubio has announced he is running for president in 2016, becoming the third Republican to officially enter the race for the party’s nomination.
Rubio, a 43-year-old first-term senator from Miami, joins two fellow Republican senators in the race, Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky.
Here’s what you need to know about Rubio:
1. He Is Seen as One of the Faces of the Republican Party’s New Generation
At just 43 and in his first term as a senator, Rubio has already established himself as a key member of the Republican party. His youth has served as an advantage in reaching out to a new generation of Republicans. Many have speculated that Rubio would be the ideal candidate to present the visions of a new GOP against a Democrat like Hillary Clinton.
Rubio began his political career as a city commissioner in Miami before being elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1999. He worked his way up to Speaker of the House in 2006 and then began his campaign for the United States Senate in 2009. He won that election in 2010 after defeating Florida Governor Charlie Crist in the Republican primary.
2. He Went to College on a Football Scholarship
Rubio played football at South Miami Senior High School and earned a football scholarship to Tarkio College in Missouri, where he played for one year. He has said he is a huge Miami Dolphins fan and watches every game.
After leaving Tarkio College, Rubio attended Santa Fe Community College for a year and then went to the University of Florida and graduated in 1993 with a degree in political science. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1996. Rubio said his education left him with $100,000 in student loans, which he paid off in 2012, according to CNBC.
3. His Parents Immigrated to the United States From Cuba
Rubio’s parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1956, according to the biography on his Senate website.
Rubio says in the biography:
My parents came to America from Cuba in 1956 and earned their way to the middle class working humble jobs – my father as a bartender in hotels and my mom as a maid, cashier and retail clerk. By their loving and powerful example, I learned the importance of work and family, and developed the belief that all things are possible in America.
4. His Wife is a Former Miami Dolphins Cheerleader
Rubio married Jeannette Dousdebes, a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, in 1996. They have four children.
5. His Catholic Faith is Extremely Important to Him & His Family
When Rubio was 8, his went to a Mormon church when they were living in Nevada, but he returned his family’s Catholic roots when the family moved to Florida in 1985, according to CNN.
There has never been a moment when faith hasn’t been an important part of my life. There have been moments when I’ve been more alive in my faith than others. There have been times when I’ve been more involved in my faith, dedicating more to it, and giving it more importance. Like everybody else, unfortunately, it’s usually in time of need that we tend to turn to our faith.