U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., the top Republican on the U.S. House Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee, was honored last week for his work on ports issues.
The Florida Republican was honored by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) as the 2019 “Port Person of the Year” with that group praising Diaz-Balart as a “committed supporter of the port industry and has fought to bring millions of dollars to improve infrastructure and development for ports across the nation.”
“In his more than 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Díaz-Balart has consistently championed legislation to benefit our nation’s ports,” said Kurt Nagle, the president and CEO of AAPA. “Through both words and deeds, he’s demonstrated a keen understanding of how ports play a central role in driving our nation’s economy and creating good American jobs.”
Diaz-Balart also garnered applause from South Florida.
“This recognition is well deserved,” said Juan Kuryla, the director and CEO of PortMiami. “Having engaged with PortMiami and numerous other ports over the years through his position on the Florida Ports Caucus, Rep. Díaz-Balart has consistently heard the need for dedicated funding for port projects. His first-hand knowledge of ports has a direct influence on his work in Congress where he will continue to fight for dedicated port project funding and for legislation that benefits the port industry.”
“I’m truly honored to receive the 2019 Port Person of the Year Award,” said Diaz-Balart. “I am fortunate to be in a position where I can craft legislation that has a direct impact on ports, not only in our state but across our nation. In FY2019 alone, I was able to allocate nearly $300 million to improve our nation’s seaports. I will continue to be a tireless advocate for our ports, which are integral drivers of economic growth, and I thank the AAPA for this humbling recognition.”
First elected in 2002, Diaz-Balart represents Hendry County and parts of Collier County and Miami-Dade County.