PRESS RELEASE from John McCain 2008 - The Exploratory Committee

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. L. Diaz-Balart & Rep. M. Diaz-Balart Align With Arizona Senator

For Immediate Release                                                                                                          Contact: Danny Diaz
Thursday, February 1, 2007

ARLINGTON, VA – U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential exploratory committee today announced that Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21), and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) will support the Arizona Senator should he decide to seek the presidency.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the first Hispanic woman and the first Cuban American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.  Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen currently serves as Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“Senator McCain is a strong supporter of the U.S. embargo on Cuba and understands that the Cuban people have been living under tyranny for far too long,” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.  “John has been working with us to help bring freedom and democracy to the enslaved island.”

Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992 and was the first Hispanic in U.S. history to be named to the House Rules Committee.  He is currently a senior member of the Rules Committee and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process.

“I have known Senator McCain for many years and I know he is absolutely committed to freedom and democracy, particularly for oppressed people everywhere, including Cuba,” said Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart.  “I look forward to taking his reform message to Floridians.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart was elected to Congress in 2002.  Prior to his election to the U.S. House, he served for 14 years in the Florida legislature in both the state House and Senate.

“Senator McCain is a dedicated and experienced public servant who understands the importance of hardworking entrepreneurs," said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. "John is a common sense conservative who stands on principles, and nobody is more prepared for the times we are facing."

Senator McCain stated that he was honored to have the support of these key Republican leaders within the House conference.  “Ileana, Lincoln, and Mario appreciate the value of freedom and exemplify the honest, hardworking tradition of the Cuban-American people,” said Senator McCain.  “I am proud to stand with these representatives and friends as we continue to work toward a free and democratic Cuba.  It is a critical time for the Cuban people and we must remain steadfast in our commitment to support the current U.S. policies toward Cuba.”