Former Republican Florida Senator Mel Martinez says he worries about uncertainty over a clear winner on Election Day and has suggestions about what is needed to bounce back from the economic fallout of COVID-19.
The chairman of Southeast US and Latin America for JPMorgan Chase (JPM) told Yahoo Finance that it is “tremendously important” for Congress to come up with another stimulus package to help struggling businesses and consumers.
“The airlines, I mean, we've got to have them. They've got to be there. This nightmare is going to end. And when it does, we’ve got to have an industry to build back upon,” he added.
“Obviously Congress — and you know, I have a little experience in that — sometimes finds it's very difficult to get things done. And you know, particularly now, in an election year, everything is really viewed through the prism of the election,” said Martinez.
The former senator said he’s concerned about the elections this fall. “The big thing I worry about is whether there'll be uncertainty about the outcome.”
“More and more, we're hearing that there could be a protracted counting and a period of time after the election date before we actually know who won, who lost, and that sort of thing.”
“I think that foreign interference is a big deal and a big problem. They will stoke that kind of uncertainty. And I think we need to be cautious and prepared for that,” he added.
‘I'm a capitalist... So I'm going to believe that the capitalist system is still the very best way’
Martinez also discussed the wealth gap in the U.S. “I believe that a long term answer is education. I think that for us to not be educating all of our children in a way that makes them have an opportunity for success is a long term problem for our country.”
“On a short term basis, I think a good, strong, vibrant economy and making sure that there is equality of opportunity, I think, ultimately, that is — I mean, I'm a capitalist, OK? So I'm going to believe that the capitalist system is still the very best way,” he added.
Martinez came to the US from Cuba at the age of 15 under Operation Peter Pan, a program which brought thousands of young people from the communist country to the U.S.
“It really has shaped my view of the world. And when we were talking about capitalism and perhaps socialism, I lived it. And I understand it. I saw it in my own life. But it really is a searing experience,” he said.
Martinez was eventually able to reunite with his parents four years later when they were able to migrate to the U.S.
“To live through a revolutionary upheaval, a tremendous lack of human rights, an authoritarian regime, it really led me to want to give back to this great country. And it led me to public service,” he said.
Senator Martinez served as Senator of Florida from 2005 to 2009 and also served as the 12th Secretary of Housing and Urban development.
Ines covers the U.S. stock market. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre