|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Florida's 26th district
January 3, 2019
Debbie Jessika Mucarsel Gil
January 18, 1971
|Education||Pitzer College (BA)|
Claremont Graduate University (MA)
Debbie Jessika Mucarsel-Powell (born January 18, 1971) is an American politician and college administrator who is serving as a U.S. Representative for Florida's 26th congressional district. The district serves western Miami-Dade County, including Homestead, as well as the Florida Keys. She is a member of the Democratic Party.
Mucarsel-Powell was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the daughter of Imelda Gil and Guido Mucarsel Yunes. Mucarsel-Powell immigrated to the United States when she was 14 years old, with her mother and three older sisters. She began working in a doughnut shop and continued to work to help support her family, who shared a one bedroom apartment.
She attended Pomona Catholic High School in Pomona, California. She earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Pitzer College and a master's degree in International Political Economy from Claremont Graduate University.
Mucarsel-Powell worked for non-profits like the Hope Center, Zoo Miami Foundation, and the Coral Restoration Foundation. From 2003 to 2007, she served as the Director of Development at Florida International University. She was the Associate Vice President for Advancement at FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine from 2007 to 2011. Mucarsel-Powell became an associate dean at the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.
In August 2017, Mucarsel-Powell announced she would challenge Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo in Florida's 26th congressional district of the United States House of Representatives in the 2018 elections. She defeated veteran Demetries Grimes in the Democratic Party primary election, receiving 63.5% of the vote.
In the November 6 general election, Mucarsel-Powell defeated Curbelo, receiving 50.9% of the vote, becoming the first Ecuadorian-born person to be elected to the United States Congress and the first woman to represent Florida's 26th congressional district.
Source: Clerk of the House of Representatives
|Republican||Anitere Flores (incumbent)||97,343||54.24|
|Republican||Carlos Curbelo (incumbent)||115,678||49.1|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
When she was 24, Mucarsel-Powell's father was killed in Ecuador due to gun violence. She is of Ecuadorian and Lebanese ancestry. Mucarsel-Powell and her husband, Robert Powell, have two children. Her husband is an attorney who serves as in-house counsel for Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc., a public company that owns the Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana restaurant brands.