In 1993, then-Congressman, and current CHLI Chairman, Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida hired Stephen to be his Legislative Director, soon-after promoting him to Chief of Staff. In this role, Stephen had the most significant impact on shaping American foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere. He worked closely with Congressman Diaz-Balart, specifically on two major projects. The first was the codification of the Cuban embargo, ensuring that sanctions remain in place until all political prisoners are released, free and independent press, legalization of political parties and labor unions, and free, fair, and competitive elections are held. He also helped guide the passage of Congressman Diaz-Balart’s Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA), which granted permanent legal status to Nicaraguans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, nationals of former Soviet bloc countries, and their dependents, who came to the United States prior to 1990.
In 2003, Stephen assisted Congressman Diaz-Balart found CHLI and the founding Board of Directors to establish the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute. Together, they developed CHLI’s vision to focus on leadership development, economic progress, business, and entrepreneurship.