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Rubio's farewell : "I leave here today with full peace in my heart"

Rubio_portrait The son of Cuban exiles, who rose the ranks to become Florida's first Cuban-American House Speaker, was celebrated Friday afternoon, in an emotional farewell ceremony.

House Speaker- Marco Rubio, a West Miami Republican, in a speech where he often paused to collect himself by drinking cups of water, told legislators about the motivation for his political drive - his parents, who arrived to the United States with little money and no command of the language.

''To this day, to this very day, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel like I'm living three lives in one,'' said Rubio, "There isn't a day that goes by that . . . I'm not trying to accomplish all the things they could not do. And it drives me in everything I do.''

Describing Rubio as "my brother, my speaker" Rep. David Rivera, a Miami Republican, recalled a recent conversation with his mother about the difficult term Rubio faced as Speaker because of the state's financial crisis.

"My mom put it in perspective," Rivera said. "She said: 'there's a reason God made Marco speaker this time. We may not know the reason today...maybe the reason God did it was to show Florida that a first generation American, whose parents came here literally with nothing but the clothes on their back, could lead Florida through some of its toughest times."

A portrait of Rubio was also unveiled and will be hang among 50 other portraits of House speakers.

Rep. Dorothy Bendross-Mindigall , a Miami Democrat spoke about Rubio's compassion, and thanked him for his efforts in passing legislation that funds $3.6 million for the creation of the Magic City Children's Zone in Liberty City. Rubio and Bendross-Mindingall  traveled together to the Harlem Children's Zone to learn about the model program and the Speaker made it part of his "100 Ideas" of legislative priorities.

She capped off her farewell speech to Rubio with the lyrics of the Green Day song Good Riddance played earlier in the ceremony: "I hope you had the time of your life."

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