ACU “rising star” Rep. Jose Felix Diaz to speak at March CPAC

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The American Conservative Union named Florida State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, a “rising conservative star,” as a featured speaker at March’s CPAC, the conservative movement’s annual popularity contest/pep rally.

Diaz is one of ten lawmakers under the age of 40 recognized by the ACU for demonstrating “exemplary conservative leadership in their respective elected positions.” He will appear Saturday, March 8, during CPAC 2014 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Fellow Floridian Marco Rubio and Rand Paul from Kentucky, two leading GOP presidential contenders, will headline this year’s event.

This will be Diaz’s second year on the CPAC main stage; he served as an emcee for a large portion of the event last year. The ACU had previously honored Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford at CPAC in 2013.  

“Being selected for this honor is an amazing opportunity to showcase that conservative solutions advanced by Republican members of the Florida legislature can serve as a model to address our country’s very real issues,” Diaz said in a statement.

Traditionally, CPAC becomes a pivotal moment in politics, often framing the conservative agenda in a campaign cycle. At the CPAC 2012, Mitt Romney told the audience he was “severely conservative,” as part of a struggle by the former Massachusetts governor to rebrand himself as a right–leaning candidate. Last year, Paul referred to the GOP as “stale and moss-covered,” a foretelling of the arising conflict between the Republican traditionalists and the upstart Tea Party.

The ACU will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014 as the oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization in the U.S. 

Event-organizing association BIZBASH ranked CPAC #4 by in the list of “Top Political & Press Events” in America.

Diaz, 34, was born in Miami to Cuban refugee parents and and raised in the Westchester area of Miami-Dade County. Currently he is the two-term Republican serving in Florida House District 116, which covers University Park and Sunset. Diaz is a founding member of the Republican State Leadership Committee’s Future Majority Caucus’ Executive Committee, which helps recruit and support state-level Republican candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.