Debbie Mucarsel-Powell immigrated to the United States as a young girl with her mother and sisters – in search of opportunities to better their lives. Debbie has early memories of the one-room apartment they lived in, while her mother worked double shifts as a home health care provider and attended school in the evenings and on the weekends to learn English.
To help her family make ends meet, Debbie started working the early-morning shift at a doughnut shop when she was 15 years old. But even while Debbie worked her way through high school, she never let a job get in the way of working hard in school and earning the grades she needed to get a scholarship to attend Pitzer College where she studied Political Science. After completing her Bachelor’s Degree, Debbie worked as an office manager at a shipping company to save money to pay her way through graduate school. In 1996, Debbie graduated from Claremont University with a Master’s Degree in International Political Economy.
Debbie has spent the last twenty-years improving the lives of underserved communities in Miami-Dade, working for non-profit organizations such as the Hope Center, Zoo Miami Foundation, and the Coral Restoration Foundation, and since 2003 at the College of Health at Florida International University and, since its inception, the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Debbie has worked tirelessly to establish and grow the Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP program at FIU and improve healthcare access for more Floridians.
Debbie ran for Congress because the same opportunities that allowed her and her family to improve their lives are disappearing for too many of our neighbors today. Too many families are struggling to get by and are one unexpected expense from not recovering. She believes we must give people a fair chance by focusing on growing the economy, paying workers a living wage, and making college affordable.
As someone that has spent her life working to expand access to quality healthcare – impacting the lives of thousands, she knows that it’s inconceivable that politicians in D.C. would consider ripping away healthcare access from our families. Debbie understands we must continue to improve on what’s working and fix what’s broken in our health care system, not abandon people who need it the most.
And through Debbie’s work with the Coral Restoration Foundation, she knows first-hand that we cannot wait to act on Climate Change. People in Miami know that there’s too much talk and no action when it comes to climate change — the only thing that counts is immediate and effective action to invest in green energy, reduce carbon emissions, and update infrastructure that will protect South Florida from sea level rise.
Debbie is married to her husband, Robert, and they have three children together, Willow, Jude and Siena.