The Ripon Forum

Volume 54, No. 6

December 2020

The New Guard: Carlos Gimenez (FL-26)

By on December 9, 2020

“This country needs to start to work together. We have threats from outside and inside, and for us to keep fighting makes no sense whatsoever.”


Snapshot of Victory: Carlos Gimenez defeated first term incumbent Democrat Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell by a vote of 51.7% to 48.3%.

Background: Carlos Gimenez was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1960 following the Cuban Revolution. Once his family made it to the United States, they settled down in a neighborhood of Miami that would become known as Little Havana. Since then, he has given back to the community that welcomed him through public service.

Gimenez earned his bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Barry University. After graduation, he joined the Miami Fire-Rescue Department and began what would turn into a 25- year career as a firefighter. Eventually, he would rise through the ranks and serve as Fire Chief, a position he held for nine years. In 2000, Gimenez was recognized for his service and appointed Manager of the City of Miami.

In 2004, he decided to run for public office, winning his race for the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. He would serve on the Board until 2011 before being elected Mayor of Miami-Dade County. He would go on to win reelection twice thereafter.

As mayor, Gimenez made government efficiency and accountability a top priority. He balanced the county budget each year in office by reining in excessive spending and eliminating bureaucratic bloat – going so far as to cut his own salary in half when he took office while also slashing the budget of the mayor’s office by over $1 million. Furthermore, he reduced the number of county departments from 42 to 26, eliminated 1,700 positions and renegotiated contracts with public sector labor unions – all of which helped amount to saving nearly $400 million.

Legislative Goals for Congress: Gimenez has outlined several priorities he plans to focus on once he takes office in January. Congress should work to ensure that the U.S. economy bounces back from the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. A strong economy is the foundation for properly taking on any other issue – including the environment.

Specifically, on the environment, the Congressman-elect will make sure the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project is properly funded so that the water flows can be restored into both the Everglades and Florida Bay.

Gimenez has also said that he will work hard when it comes to health care. This means protecting the 200 million Americans who have private health insurance, but also making sure that quality, affordable health care is available – regardless of preexisting conditions – for those who do not have private insurance.

Key Quote: “Today was a rejection of extremism. Today was a rejection of partisanship. Today was a rejection of socialism and the evils of socialism and communism… We need to work together. This country needs to start to work together. We have threats from outside and inside, and for us to keep fighting makes no sense whatsoever.” (Source: Victory Speech on election night.)

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