This Sunday, leading up to Hispanic Heritage Month, Parade visits Sen. Marco Rubio and his wife, Jeannette, as they juggle four young kids, a commuter marriage, and possible White House dreams.
Parade is distributed with print editions of Sunday's Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
The rising star of the Republican Party is a Cuban-American, Roman Catholic Gen Xer with a passion for football and a powerful drive to achieve what his parents couldn't. Some excerpts below:
On helping steer comprehensive immigration reform through the Senate, after initially opposing it:
“It's one thing to consider immigration reform as a theoretical policy issue, and another to meet real people whose lives are impacted by it. As a senator, I interact with people who flat-out tell you, 'Look, my kids were hungry. And I am going to do what it takes to feed them.' You think, 'If I had been in that position, would I have done something different?'“
On the idea that he is the GOP's Great Hispanic Hope:
“I don't think you can nominate someone with a last name that ends in a vowel and expect that all of a sudden Hispanics will flock to them. Voters choose the candidate who stands for what they stand for, and who stands with people like them. And I don't mean like them ethnically; I mean like them in terms of understanding what they're going through.”
On his infamous sip of water during his response to the State of the Union address:
“In hindsight, it's one of the things I laugh about.”
On attempting to teach their children Spanish, which both he and his wife grew up speaking at home:
“We have to force the Spanish with the kids. We try really hard. That's one of the things I hope we get better at.”
On his family's goal of moving to Washington (according to a spokesman no decision has been made, but they've put their four-bedroom home on the market):
“It's not about moving out of Florida; it's about being able to go home to your family at night. My most important job isn't senator. It's father.”
On whether he will run for President in 2016:
“At some point late next year I'll sit down with my increasingly opinionated children and my wife and we'll have the conversation: 'What do I want to do?'“
On his view of the American dream:
“I do believe that the essence of the American dream is a vibrant middle class and upward mobility, the ability not just to do better yourself but to give your kids the chance to do everything you could not do. That dream is very prevalent in the Hispanic community. To the extent that people view the Republican party as a defender of this dream, I think that'll be very positive–not just among Hispanics but among all Americans.”
On being featured in Parade:
“I always wanted to be in Parade – but as a Parade All-American!” (The 5-foot-9 Rubio was a former college football player.)
For more on Marco Rubio, his up-by-the-bootstraps success story, and what he thinks about fellow Republicans Chris Christie (N.J.), Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Rand Paul (Ky.), check out Sunday's Parade.