Who am I?
Joe Garcia was born in Miami, Florida on October 12, 1963 to Joe Sr. and Carmen Garcia who immigrated to the United States in 1960 in search of freedom after the rise of communism in their homeland.
Joe's father started out washing cars and his mother waited tables. They taught their three sons to love America and to believe in its great promise. Their example was that of a lifetime of hard work and dedication, while earning a better life for their family. As a result, Joe and his brothers would spend their summers cutting grass with their grandfather to help pay for their education.
Eventually, Joe Sr. started working at a bank and Carmen was able to start her own business. With great sacrifice and work they were able to send their three sons to Belen Jesuit, where Joe would eventually graduate from high school.
Joe attended Miami-Dade Community College after high school. He earned academic scholarships and transferred to the University of Miami. AT UM, Joe became active on campus. In his senior year, Joe was elected president of the student government. While at UM, he joined the Salvadorian National Foundation and led its efforts to help people in developing countries. Joe graduated from UM with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and public affairs in 1986 and started UM Law School in 1987.
In 1988, Joe was hired by the late Jorge Mas Canosa to lead the Exodus Project of the Cuban American National Foundation. He attended the University of Miami Law School during the day and directed the project on nights and weekends. The Exodus Project became the most successful refugee resettlement program in American history. Over 10,000 families that had been spread throughout the world were reunited at no cost to the taxpayer.
LEADING AND SERVING
After graduating from law school, Joe turned down lucrative corporate law offers to continue directing the Exodus Project. He traveled to 17 countries and met with dozens of world leaders to reunite the thousands of Cuban families that had been scattered throughout the world.
In 1991 Joe was appointed by the late Governor of Florida, Lawton Chiles, to lead the Florida Public Service Commission. As its Chairman, Joe deregulated the state's telecommunications industry, which led to lower prices for consumers. He later worked closely with Governor Jeb Bush, and law makers from both parties, to sign the largest energy rate cut in Florida's history.
In 2001, during a transformational moment in its history, Joe Garcia became the Executive Director of the Cuban American National Foundation, the country's leading advocate for democracy in Cuba. Under Joe's leadership, the organization doubled its funding of the island's internal opposition movement and helped lead the charge to save South Florida's iconic symbol of liberty, the Freedom Tower. Joe became a national advocate for the cause of freedom in Cuba and was a frequent guest on national media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Univision, NPR and MSNBC to name a few.
In 2004 Joe joined NDN, a progressive policy think-tank, and led its Hispanic outreach efforts. At NDN, Joe extended his career-long advocacy for the rights of immigrants to a national level working with members of Congress to bring about comprehensive immigration reform.
In 2006, Joe was elected as the Chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.
Joe met his wife, Aileen, in 1988 while they were both in law school. Aileen was born and raised in Miami and came from a middle-class working family. As a result of her dedication, she earned various scholarships and was able to attend Harvard, where she would graduate with honors. Aileen graduated from the University of Miami Law School in 1991 and was the president of its law review. She is now the General Counsel for the University of Miami and is a dedicated leader in our community.
Joe and Aileen are the proud parents of their daughter, Gabriela (10).
Why am I running?
This is our moment. We need to change the direction of our country and refocus our attention on the concerns of the American people.
We need to strengthen our middle class. Provide all Americans access to excellent health care. And re-establish America as the moral and economic world leader.
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
Grassroots will be the heart of my campaign. This campaign is about the people, their concerns, and how together we can make this the best place in the world to live.