US Congressman Carlos Gimenez joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5 FM this morning to talk about issues facing the country and Florida.
Gimenez has a background in firefighting and worked for the city of Miami. He was also county commissioner and the mayor of Miami-Dade County.
Gimenez said, “I’m a firefighter. That’s my craft. That’s where I came from. It’s atypical of Congress men and women up in DC. A lot of them are either attorneys or they were former state legislators. I didn’t come from that. I came from a background that actually was mostly in the streets. I learned my craft in the streets of Miami as a firefighter and a paramedic.”
He sponsors a number of bills that relate to public safety and he’s on the Homeland Security Committee.
Gimenez also helped get FEMA grants for help with electric resilient infrastructure project.
He said, “We live in a hurricane prone area. I’m no stranger to that. I was the Emergency Management City Manager in Hurricane Andrew. As mayor I was also the emergency manager to a number of storms that come our way from 2011 to 2020. Infrastructure is very important resilience to hurricanes because where we live it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when and we have to make sure that we’re as well prepared for these storms as possible.”
It’s also important to protect US 1 because it’s the main road in and out of the Keys.
Gimenez said, “(We need to) make sure that that is well protected and resilient because if something happens to that, it becomes a major, major issue. Look what happened in Sanibel where Causeway basically was washed away. We need to make sure that that never happens in the Keys because that would have dire consequences for the people living there.”
He also helped get individual assistance following Hurricane Ian.
Gimenez said, “The images from the Keys weren’t like the images that were coming out of the west coast of Florida, but for individuals in the Keys, Ian was just as devastating as those individuals in Sanibel and Fort Myers beach. When I went down there I saw it first-hand what had happened and the storm surge and the devastating effect it had on individuals down there and you know what? They need individual assistance. So we pushed hard for that and the governor also pushed hard for that and I’m glad that the Biden administration saw that it was only right that the people of Key West that were devastated by the storm, that were greatly affected by the storm be given the same kind of assistance that they’re getting over on the west coast. Again, it’s on an individual basis.”
Equipment at the Key West International Airport was also able to be replaced from the FEMA declaration.
There are predictions in the upcoming midterm election that Miami-Dade might go Republican.
Gimenez said, “I see it. We have counts of who’s voting and right now, for the first time in a very long time, we have more Republicans in Miami-Dade that actually have gone out and voted than Democrats, which is really unheard of. In order for a Democrat to be competitive in the state of Florida, they have to come out of Miami-Dade with a cushion of about 200,000 to 300,000 votes. It’s not going to happen this time.”
The midterm elections will determine which party will control the House and Senate.
Gimenez said, “Things have to fall the right way, but I believe they will. I see this surge. I frankly think it’s more than a wave. The fact that the Democrats are not coming out in Miami-Dade is telling me something, too. That maybe some Democrats are trying to send their party a message. We will see. Politics, it’s an art. It’s not a science. What happens with people when they go out to vote, how they vote, etc., when you get into that ballot box, you’re by yourself and you can mark it any way you want.”
In international terms, both China and North Korea are countries we need to keep an eye on.
Gimenez said, “The only way in my estimation to peace is through strength. You have to show strength in order for people to respect you and basically okay, hey we’re not going to mess with the United States of America. Unfortunately we haven’t demonstrated that strength in the last couple of years and so different players on the world stage are starting to test the waters. America needs to be strong.”
Secure borders are also critical.
Gimenez said, “We don’t have border security. We need to change that. I’m not sure if this president will ever get it. What’s happening at the southern border is untenable. No nation can survive without secure borders. We have to secure out borders and we have to have a logical, orderly way for immigration. We can’t even have that discussion until we secure our southern border.”
One of Gimenez’s greatest pleasures is representing the people of Florida in Washington.
“I’m a very popular guy when I tell them I represent the Keys,” he said. “They all want to come down. It’s a great district and the Florida Keys are a beautiful part of my district. I know my job. My job is to represent you and represent you in the best way possible. Always know that what I’m doing is what I think is right. That’s the way I will represent you. Enjoy this beautiful place that we call home. It is a beautiful place.”