Profile of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez
MIAMI (WSVN) -- Early voting is just days away for this month's primary election, and 7News is getting voters prepared by profiling the candidates for Miami-Dade mayor, beginning with incumbent Carlos Gimenez.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade County: "Time flies, and here we are again."
He is the current mayor and wants to hold on to the job, but Gimenez hasn't had Miami-Dade County's top post for long.
The former Miami firefighter, Miami city manager and Miami-Dade County commissioner became the mayor when he won the June 2011 runoff election after voters recalled the previous mayor.
Gimenez was candid when 7News asked him what he knows now about the job that he didn't know before he started.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez: "Frankly, nothing. The job of being mayor is very similar to being City Manager of the City of Miami."
Since stepping in to office, Gimenez says he has fulfilled last year's campaign promises of restoring faith in county government, reducing the number of county departments from 42 to 25, and lowering property taxes.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez: "I said that we were going to lower property taxes in Miami-Dade County, and we did that. We lowered it, the biggest property tax cut in Miami-Dade County history."
Gimenez has put forward two budgets. The proposal for the upcoming year includes cutting 600 vacant positions. Gimenez contends, his budgets will save the county more than $405 million.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez: "First and foremost, this is a responsible budget ... We are going to continue ways to reduce the size of this government, make it more efficient but not sacrifice essential services."
Gimenez has also cut his own paycheck and eliminated his executive benefits. He backs two four-year term limits for county commissioners, an issue set for the November ballot.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez: "I voted for term limits when I was a commissioner. I believe term limits are the right thing. It's very difficult to have somebody challenge an incumbent."
Gimenez says he is running for another term because he feels he's the person best qualified to be Miami-Dade County's mayor.
Mayor Carlos Gimenez: "My wish is to be the mayor of all Miami-Dade County, all the communities, all the different groups, because we all live here and we are all in this together."
Later, 7News will profile another candidate for Miami-Dade County mayor, Commissioner Joe Martinez.
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