Carlos Antonio Giménez (/hiˈmɛnɛz/ hee-MEN-ez; born January 17, 1954) is a Cuban-born American politician and retired firefighter serving as the U.S. Representative for Florida's 26th congressional district. A Republican, he served as mayor of Miami-Dade County, Florida, from 2011 to 2020. He previously served as a Miami-Dade County Commissioner from 2003 to 2011, and was the fire chief of the City of Miami Fire Department.
He supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. In 2020, Gimenez ran as a supporter of President Donald Trump and was endorsed by him.
Giménez serves as one of the Republican assistant whips under Steve Scalise.
Giménez was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1954 to ranchers from the Oriente province. In 1960, his family immigrated to the United States in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, settling in what became Miami's Little Havana.
Giménez attended Columbus High School near Miami and earned a bachelor's degree in public administration from Barry University. In 1993, he completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Giménez joined the City of Miami Fire Department as a firefighter in 1975. He was appointed fire chief in 1991, serving until 2000.
He is a former member of the International City Managers Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association, the Florida Fire Chiefs, and the Fire Officers Association of Miami-Dade. Gimenez also served on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue Advisory Committee and as the Chair of the Legal Issues Subcommittee.
From May 2000 to January 2003, Giménez served as city manager of Miami proper, appointed by then mayor Joe Carollo, to replace incumbent Donald Warshaw. In 2004, he was elected as a Miami-Dade County Commissioner for the county's 7th district, beating former Mayor of Miami and, eventual successor, Xavier Suarez. His district included Miami proper, the Village of Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, South Miami, Kendall, and Pinecrest.
Giménez was elected mayor of the metropolitan government of Miami-Dade County, Florida on June 28, 2011, in the 2011 Miami-Dade County mayoral election. Incumbent mayor Carlos Alvarez had been recalled in one of the largest recall elections of a municipal official in United States history. No candidate got over 50% of the popular vote in the first round so a runoff election was held. Gimenez won the runoff election with 51% of the vote against Julio Robaina's 49%.
During his 2011 campaign, Giménez promised that if he were to be elected, he would cut his own salary. After he was elected, Giménez kept this promise, cutting his own salary and benefits by 50%.
Giménez won re-election in the 2012 Miami-Dade County mayoral election with 54% of the vote against multiple candidates and again in 2016 with 56% of the vote against school board member Raquel Regalado.
In 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting "sanctuary" jurisdictions that limited or refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, ordering a review of their access to federal funding. Miami-Dade received a letter from the administration that the county had been flagged as a sanctuary jurisdiction. Giménez then ordered the director of his corrections department to begin honoring all requests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Miami Dade County Board of Commissioners formally codified his order by a 9 to 3 vote. The Department of Justice later confirmed the county was no longer flagged as a sanctuary jurisdiction. In December 2018, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal dismissed a lawsuit filed in state court challenging the county's detention policy.
In the lead-up to the 2020 election, which was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Gimenez limited the number of ballot drop locations. His office sent mail-in ballots to voters later than required by state law.
Prior to the 2020 election, the Miami Heat sought to make AmericanAirlines Arena the early voting site for downtown Miami. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, the NBA had sought to "channel demands for social justice into a voting drive by turning arenas into polling places." The city was close to signing an agreement with the NBA team which included a ban on political advertising in the arena while voting was underway. Gimenez intervened and the city ultimately selected the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, a previous long-time polling location, as Miami's early voting location, citing its proximity to a Metromover station as well as access to ground-level parking. The Frost Museum site was smaller than the arena and elections staff had not mentioned it on a draft list of 33 early voting sites that the staff worked on to prepare safe voting during a pandemic.
In January 2020, Giménez announced he was running for the Republican nomination in the 2020 U.S. House election for Florida's 26th congressional district. Gimenez was term-limited from running again as mayor. In the 2016 presidential election, Giménez had endorsed Hillary Clinton. In 2020, he said that he had "made a mistake" in supporting Clinton. Having previously distanced himself from Trump, Giménez ran as a pro-Trump Republican in 2020. He ran on a platform of repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and opposing a carbon tax. Giménez was endorsed by President Trump in January 2020. On August 18, 2020, Giménez won the Republican primary election, defeating Omar Blanco with 59.9% of the vote. Giménez won the general election against incumbent Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
After Joe Biden won the 2020 election and Donald Trump refused to concede while making false claims of fraud, Gimenez defended Trump and said he should not concede. He later voted against certification of the electoral college votes for Arizona and Pennsylvania. Giménez voted against the second impeachment of Donald Trump on January 13, 2021.
In late 2020, Giménez was a member of Freedom Force, a group of incoming Republican members of the House of Representatives who "say they're fighting against socialism in America". On February 4, 2021, he joined 10 other Republican House members voting with all voting Democrats to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her House Education and Labor Committee, and House Budget Committee assignments in response to conspiratorial and violent statements that she had made.
In March 2021, Giménez voted against the American Rescue Plan which provided individuals making less than $75,000 with $1400 stimulus checks. In March 2021, Giménez was one of 8 Republicans to join the House majority in passing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021.
Giménez is married to Lourdes Portela, with whom he has three children.
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