Bachelor’s in Public Administration, Barry University; Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government, Harvard University
KEY HEALTH LINK
Gimenez was a first responder, serving as a firefighter for 16 years and as chief of the City of Miami Fire Department for nine years. In November 2020, Gimenez tested positive for COVID-19.
Mayor of Miami-Dade County, 2011-2021; Miami-Dade County Commissioner (7th district), 2005-2011; Miami City Manager (Appointed), 2000-2003
2020 ELECTION CONTEXT
Gimenez ran against fellow Republican Omar Blanco in the 2020 Republican primary for Florida’s 26th Congressional District. In the general election, Gimenez ran against and narrowly defeated incumbent Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), defeated in re-election bid
MOST RECENT PROFESSION
Mayor of Miami-Dade County
Gimenez was a firefighter and fire chief before holding office. From 2000 to 2003, Gimenez served as City Manager for Miami proper, which is an appointed position. In 2004, Gimenez was first elected to office as a member of the Miami-Dade County Commission from the 7th District, a role in which he served until 2011, when he was elected Mayor of Miami-Dade County. Gimenez served as Mayor until he was elected as a member of Congress from Florida’s 26th District. Gimenez served on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue Advisory Committee and as the Chair of the Legal Issues Subcommittee.
On The Issues
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Gimenez used his authority as Mayor of Miami-Dade County to sign executive orders placing restrictions on public gatherings and places of business. Gimenez increased or eased restrictions based on the spread of the virus during different periods of time throughout pandemic. In late September 2020, Gimenez stated that he would not comply with the decision of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to lift most of the in-place restrictions.
Gimenez has stated, “I never said that I was against Obamacare. I said I think there are aspects of it that were good but obviously it needs a lot of fixing, I wouldn’t repeal it. I would fix it.” Gimenez has stated his support for protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
In 2014, Gimenez announced that he would not be voting in favor of medical marijuana in Florida, saying, "While I'm in favor of marijuana for medicinal purposes, I think this amendment is a little too loose [with its language]." In 2016, Gimenez came out in support of Florida Question 2, which would legalize marijuana. In 2015, Gimenez supported a measure in Miami-Dade County which allowed for people found possessing marijuana to be issued a civil citation and fine instead of a criminal charge, though he did state that he would support arrests for those found smoking marijuana in public. Gimenez has been given a C rating by NORML.
MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION
In 2019, Gimenez took part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Miami Center for Mental Health and Recovery. Gimenez commended Judge Steven Leifman for creating the 11th Judicial Circuit Criminal Mental Health Project, creating a diversion program to provide "...equitable treatment [for] those with mental illnesses, while at the same time alleviating the burden on our county jails." In August 2020, the Miami-Dade County Commissioners passed a resolution which directed Gimenez's office to "devote $1 million to creating and implementing a plan to expand mental health services for county residents" as a response to the mental health crisis spurred on the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May 2017, Gimenez commended then-Governor of Florida Rick Scott for declaring a statewide public health emergency over the opioid epidemic. In 2017, Gimenez helped create the Opioid Addiction Task Force.
VETERANS HEALTH CARE
In December 2014, representatives from Miami-Dade County attended a meeting in Washington, D.C. on the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs 25 Cities Initiative to "intensify and integrate local efforts" to end Veteran homelessness, which they ultimately joined. Gimenez joined the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness initiative, and in August 2018, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust announced that Miami-Dade County was the first major urban area in Florida to bring a sustainable end to Veteran homelessness, with sheltered Veterans representing less than 1% of the total homeless population in Miami-Dade County.
Gimenez is pro-life.
OTHER HEALTH CARE ISSUES
Gimenez joined other local officials to proclaim February 23, 2015 as "Care Resource Day" for the purpose of "saluting the men and women who devote their time and effort to making Care Resource a success." Care Resource is an organization which "for over 30 years ... has provided HIV/AIDS research, prevention, care, and treatment services to individuals in the Miami-Dade and Broward counties."
In 2013, Gimenez vetoed a program passed by the Miami-Dade County Commission that would have ended forced contributions by county workers to health care costs. Gimenez cited the financial strain that ending these contributions would place on the city. This decision was opposed by county workers.
DID YOU KNOW?
Gimenez is a Cuban immigrant. His family came to the United States in 1960 following the Cuban Revolution. Gimenez’s family settled in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. Gimenez has been a resident of Miami-Dade County since his immigration.
Prior to his appointment as Miami City Manager, Gimenez served for 25 years in the Miami Fire-Rescue Department, serving as department chief for the last nine years.