MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As expected, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Thursday the launch of his campaign for the Republican nomination for the United States House of Representatives for the 26th Congressional District of Florida.

The congressional seat is currently held by Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who is serving her first term.

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Here is what the mayor had to say:

“I came to the United States with my family when I was six years old to escape socialism so I’m very troubled by the embrace of socialist policies by the radical left,” Gimenez said. “I believe in America and the free enterprise system that has made this country great and I will stand with President Trump to defend the American Dream for future generations from extremists.”

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“I care very deeply about our community and our country and I want to take my experience I’ve gained as a firefighter, administrator and as Mayor to Washington at this critical time,” Gimenez said. “Here in Miami-Dade, we’ve been successful at creating an environment for job growth that cut unemployment from more than 12 percent to under three percent while delivering the largest tax cut in county history. We’ve modernized county government while balancing the budget every year without tax increases. That’s a track record that has been good for Miami-Dade and that’s experience that is needed in Congress now more than ever.”

Before being elected county mayor, Gimenez was an elected member of the Board of County Commissioners from 2004 to 2011.

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The district serves western Miami-Dade County, including Homestead and the Florida Keys.