Mel Martinez is a former United States Senator from Florida and served as Chairman of the Republican Party from November 2006 until October 19, 2007, the first Latino to serve as chairman of a major party. Previously, Martínez served as the 12th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush.
Martínez was born in Sagua La Grande, Cuba. He came to the United States in 1962 as part of a Roman Catholic humanitarian effort called Operation Peter Pan. Martínez received an Associate’s degree from Orlando Junior College in 1967, a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Florida State University, and his Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law in 1973. In July of 2010 he became chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Florida and its operations in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.