At a Glance
- Career History: Florida State Senate (1989-1992); Florida House of Representatives (1986-1989); Assistant Florida attorney (1983-1984)
- Birthday: Aug. 13, 1954
- Hometown: Havana, Cuba
- Alma Mater: University of South Florida, B.S., 1977; Case Western Reserve University, J.D., 1979
- Spouse: Cristina
- Religion: Catholic
- Committees: Rules Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee
- DC Office: 2244 Rayburn House Office Building, 202-225-4211
- District Office: Miami, 305-470-8555
- Web site
Path to Power
Diaz-Balart was born in 1959 in Havana, a member of a clan that has come to be known as the "Cuban Kennedys" and one of Fidel Castro's "most repulsive enemies."
Rafael Diaz-Balart, Diaz-Balart's father, and Castro were close friends until 1952 when Rafael joined the government of Fulgencio Batista. Mirta Diaz-Balart, Rafael's sister and Lincoln and Mario's aunt, was married to Castro, but divorced him soon after her family took Batista's side. Rafael was vacationing with his wife and eldest sons, including Lincoln, when Castro seized control of Cuba in 1959. The Diaz-Balarts settled in south Florida.
Diaz-Balart is among the most moderate Republicans in the House. He was one of three GOP holdouts on signing the 1994 "Contract with America." He took issue with the welfare reform section, which included provisions to deny federal programs to legal immigrants. The American Conservative Union gives him a lifetime rating of 72. During the 110th Congress, Diaz-Balart backed the House GOP position 88.3 percent of the time.
Diaz-Balart's stance on offshore drilling of oil has shifted in recent years. In 2005, he backed legislation seeking a permanent ban on oil-and-natural-gas drilling off Florida's coast. Diaz-Balart later shifted his support to a compromise bill, giving state legislatures the right to decide on drilling rights within 125 miles of the coast.
In July 2009, the Diaz-Balart brothers announced they would back Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in his 2010 Senate bid. They later withdrew their support, but wouldn't publicly explain why, despite the surging campaign of former state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R). In December 2009, Lincoln Diaz-Balart said Crist "left us no alternative and he knows why." Theories have included Crist ignoring Lincoln's judicial recommendations and the Senate bid of Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.). The Miami Democrat is close with the brothers and an ally on Cuba-related issues.
Ros-Lehtinen, another Miami-based lawmaker and ranking Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, is the brothers' closest ally regarding Cuba.