FL-26: Carlos Gimenez (R)
Born in Cuba in 1954, Gimenez immigrated to the United States with his family following the Cuban Revolution in 1960. His family settled in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood and Gimenez has been a Miami-Dade resident ever since. Mayor Gimenez has dedicated his life to his community and the people of Miami-Dade County as a firefighter, an administrator and as an elected public servant.
As Miami-Dade mayor, Gimenez is the highest-ranking elected official and chief administrator of Florida’s largest county. He was elected mayor of Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county, in a 2011 special election and re-elected in 2012 and 2016.
Gimenez has led dramatic positive change in South Florida by balancing the county’s budget every year without raising taxes and bringing Miami-Dade taxpayers the largest tax cut in county history. The Gimenez tax cut has saved property taxpayers more than $1.9 billion, or more than $1700 per household.
Gimenez cut his own salary by 50% and cut his office budget by over $1 million. He put the county’s checkbook online so all taxpayers could see how their tax dollars were being spent. Gimenez reduced the number of county departments from 42 to 26, eliminated 1700 positions and renegotiated contracts with public sector labor unions, saving taxpayers over $400 million. In his first two years in office, Gimenez reduced the wait time on county permit processing by three months.
After graduating from Christopher Columbus High School, Gimenez earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Barry University and spent 25 years as a firefighter with the Miami Fire-Rescue Department, nine as chief. Having been recognized for his management of the Miami Fire-Rescue Department, Gimenez was appointed manager of the City of Miami in 2000, where he brought fiscal sustainability and reliability overseeing a $500 million annual budget and 4000 employees. Due to sound fiscal practices, Gimenez reduced the tax rate to its lowest level in 50 years while creating a $140 million reserve and elevating the City’s bond rating from “junk” status to investment grade. Before his election as mayor, Gimenez was an elected member of the Board of County Commissioners from 2004 to 2011.
Mayor Gimenez and his wife, the former Lourdes Portela, have three adult children and six grandchildren.
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