10 things to know about Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar

Justin Azpiazu/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

By Giselle Balido

May 13, 2024

Here is a look at some of the Republican incumbent’s most controversial positions as she runs for reelection in November.

 

Born in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, Maria Elvira Salazar, the daughter of Cuban exiles who spent part of her childhood in Puerto Rico, is running on a pro-Donald Trump, anti-socialism platform to keep her seat in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, which includes large swathes of Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and Miami.

As the former Spanish-language journalist continues her bid against Democrat Lucia Baez-Geller, here are 10 things to know about Maria Elvira Salazar.

1. She took credit for bills she opposed

One of Salazar’s strategies appears to be claiming credit for projects made possible by bipartisan legislation that she didn’t support, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act to upgrade the country’s dated roads, bridges, broadband, and public transit and the CHIPS and Science Act in support of tech hubs devoted to energy and environmental issues.

When CBS Miami investigative reporter Jim DeFede earlier this year pressed Salazar on her record of voting against a bill, then taking credit for it when it passed, she claimed not to remember how she voted at the time, while urging the reporter to “focus on the positive.”

2. Oops, she did it again

A scant month after reporter DeFede called her out for taking credit for bills that she voted against, Salazar celebrated delivering $1.4 million to a children’s hospital in her district, even though she voted against the bill that provided this money. Virtually every House Republican voted against this bill, which provided $1.7 trillion to fund the federal government.

3. She voted to undercount Latinos in the Census

Salazar voted “yes” on a bill that could lead to an undercounting of Florida Hispanics in the Census. HR 7109 would place a citizenship question on the next decennial Census, a measure that, according to its critics, clashes with the 14th Amendment’s requirement that there be a count of “whole numbers of persons in each state,” not just U.S. citizens.

 

RELATED: Video: Lucía Báez-Geller explica por qué se postula contra María Elvira Salazar en Noviembre

 

4. She celebrated the end of Roe v. Wade

Salazar publicly celebrated when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. In a written statement, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Spokesperson Lauryn Fanguen called out “Republicans’ draconian policy” and “out-of-touch politicians like María Elvira Salazar who support the erosion of their rights.”

5. She opposed reproductive care resources

The Republican legislator also voted to restrict access to the abortion medication mifepristone and has voted to eliminate resources for active-duty service members seeking reproductive care.

6. She flip-flopped on free speech and free expression

Although Salazar calls herself an enemy of socialist and communist regimes that ban free speech, she refused to allow California Rep. Barbara Lee, a Democrat, to sit in on a House subcommittee hearing because she disagrees with Lee’s views on Cuba, leading to criticism that Salazar was acting like the Cuban regime.

“I’m an African American woman who has a point of view. In a democracy, those points of view are allowed, and you are doing the same thing the Cuban government is…” Lee responded.

Salazar’s positions drew strong criticism from Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, who called Salazar’s refusal to allow Lee to participate “unprecedented.”

7. She accepted donations from a spy

After the arrest of Manuel Rocha, a former US Ambassador to Bolivia for spying for Cuba, Salazar told Joe Biden’s administration to “wake up.” But Salazar accepted $750 in campaign donations from Rocha as she ran for reelection in 2022. Officials said at the time that Salazar had no personal relationship to Rocha and that they would return the money.

 

RELATED: Maria Elvira Salazar’s history of opposing abortion rights

 

8. She sided with Big Pharma

In 2021, health care advocates and union workers met outside of Salazar’s district office in Miami in response to her opposition to President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda, particularly on the health care aspect of the plan, which seeks to lower costs of prescriptions as well as health care in general.

“By opposing this plan in Congress, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar has shown that [she] would rather stand with Big Pharma than stand with the interests of her own constituents,” William Miller, Protect Our Care Florida state director, said in a statement.

Salazar later voted against Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which lowered healthcare costs for Florida seniors.

9. She flip-flopped on the Affordable Care Act

Salazar called former Rep. Donna Shalala and Democrats socialists because of policies like the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. But after realizing the plan is very popular with South Floridians – especially with Latinos in her district – she turned around and told voters that Obamacare was “OK.”

10. She praised Argentina for having “only one culture, only one religion and only one race”

In a Spanish-language video endorsement of President Javier Milei of Argentina–a right-wing libertarian and former television pundit who calls himself an “anarcho-capitalist”–Salazar praised the country as having “only one culture, only one religion and only one race, completely homogenous.”

The comment by Salazar appeared to refer to a perception of Argentina as a country of white European descendants, ignoring the South American country’s Black and Indigenous culture and ancestry.

 

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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