Birthdate: Oct. 12, 1963
Birth Place: Miami Beach, FL, United States
Residence: Miami Beach, FL
Religion: Roman Catholic
District: District 26
Joe Garcia was born in Miami, where he still resides, to parents who fled Cuba after the Fidel Castro-led communist takeover. He received a bachelor's degree in political science and a law degree from the University of Miami.
Garcia has been involved in public service for two decades. He was an appointed member of Florida's utility regulatory body, the Public Service Commission, from 1993 to 2000. He then became executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation, an activist organization opposed to the Castro government.
Garcia was named director in 2009 of the U.S. Office of Economic Impact in the Energy Department. He left that position in 2010 and, in 2011, he joined CSA Group, an engineering and design firm. Garcia left in June 2012 to campaign for Congress full time.
Garcia is divorced and has a daughter.
Joe Garcia is making his third run for Congress and his second straight bid against Rep. David Rivera.
After two previous defeats, Garcia was not the candidate that Democrats had recruited to run in the reconfigured 26th Congressional District, which now stretches from Miami-Dade County to Key West. The party turned initially to a former state legislator and then to other candidates.
But Garcia decided to jump into the race amid ongoing investigations into Rivera's finances, saying in an introductory campaign ad that voters needed someone who could represent their community instead of someone preoccupied with his legal defense and "covering up his lies."
Garcia defeated three Democrats in the August 2012 primary, including one candidate whose campaign may have been bankrolled and orchestrated by Rivera, according to a report in The Miami Herald.
His 2012 campaign includes an emphasis on education, jobs and health care, but a key part of the focus of his campaign remains Rivera and his record.
Garcia supports the 2010 health care reform bill backed by President Barack Obama. He says he also supports the DREAM Act, which would offer a pathway to U.S. citizenship for young illegal immigrants who went to college or served in the military.
Garcia also favors making it easier for Cuban exiles to extend humanitarian aid to families still living on the island nation.
Source: Associated Press