|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 26th district
January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||district created|
|Born||Jose Antonio Garcia, Jr.
October 12, 1963
Miami Beach, Florida
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Spouse(s)||Aileen Ugalde (1992-2012)|
|Children||Gabriela (b. 1998)|
|Alma mater||Belen Jesuit Preparatory School
University of Miami (B.A.)
University of Miami Law School (J.D.)
|Website||Representative Joe Garcia|
Jose Antonio "Joe" Garcia, Jr. (born October 12, 1963) is a Miami-based lawyer and the U.S Representative for Florida's 26th congressional district. The district includes most of western Miami-Dade County, as well as the Florida Keys. He is the former executive director of the Cuban American National Foundation and was nominated by President Barack Obama to be director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact and Diversity of the United States Department of Energy, a position for which he was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate.
Early life and education 
Jose Antonio Garcia, Jr. was born in Miami Beach to Jose Garcia Sr. and his wife, Carmen. His parents fled Cuba after the Cuban Revolution occurred and Fidel Castro's Communist regime took power. Garcia graduated in 1982 from Belen Jesuit Preparatory School and attended Miami-Dade Community College before earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and public affairs from the University of Miami in 1987. While at the university, Garcia was elected president of the student government. Garcia later earned his J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law in 1991.
Early public sector career 
Garcia served on the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) as chairman. While on the FPSC, he also chaired the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and was second vice chair of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (SEARUC). Garcia was later appointed to the Federal Communications Commission Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service and was a member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).
Garcia served on the board of the Spanish American League Against Discrimination (SALAD) and on the board of directors of Regis House, a drug addiction treatment and prevention center for inner-city youth in Miami. Garcia is a member of the board of directors of the Cuban American National Foundation, and is a past president. He also has served as director of the New Democrat Network Hispanic Strategy Center, and chairman of the Democratic Party of Miami-Dade County.
In 2009, Garcia joined the Obama administration in a Senate-confirmed position as director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact for the Department of Energy.
As director of the Office of Economic Impact, Garcia worked closely with small business owners to increase their participation in the energy sector. He focused on the cause of women and minorities within the federal government by partnering with minority serving institutions, like Florida International University. As head of the Civil Rights office, Garcia worked to ensure that institutions that received money from the federal government did not discriminate against women and minorities.
During his tenure at the Energy Department, Garcia was also appointed by President Barack Obama to the Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status. On the Task Force, Garcia focused on lowering energy costs in Puerto Rico and pushed for renewable energy projects on the island of Vieques.
U.S. House of Representatives 
Garcia announced on February 7, 2008, his candidacy for the U.S. Congress in Florida's 25th congressional district. Garcia proved to be a prolific fundraiser, raising over $1.8 million. Incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart defeated Garcia 53%-47%.
In April 2010, Garcia announced his candidacy for the 25th district again, after U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart announced he would not seek re-election and retire. In his campaign announcement, Garcia noted he would focus on job creation, funding education and health care as his top priorities. Garcia defeated Luis Meurice in the Democratic primary 76%-24%.
In the general election, Garcia faced State Representative David Rivera, Tea Party nominee Roly Arrojo, and Florida Whig Party nominee Craig Porter. Rivera defeated Garcia 52%-43%, or a 9.5-point margin.
In 2012, Garcia announced he would seek a rematch against Rivera in the newly created Florida's 26th congressional district. It is more divided between Republicans and Democrats than its predecessor, the 25th district. It had been pushed well to the east and south, losing its share of Collier County and picking up all of Monroe County, including the Keys. The race was widely expected to be much closer than in previous cycles, in part due to the new demographics, and due to numerous scandals surrounding Rivera. In addition to several state probes, Rivera was the target of a federal investigation into allegations he tried to sabotage the Democratic primary in the 26th by secretly funding an unknown candidate, Justin Sternad, in hopes of avoiding a rematch against Garcia. Several vendors Sternad employed in his campaign told The Miami Herald that Rivera had funded Sternad's campaign. Sternad himself subsequently told the FBI that Rivera had funded his campaign. Sternad's campaign manager, Ana Alliegro, was a close friend of Rivera's, and according to Sternad served as the go-between.
Garcia won the rematch, defeating Rivera 54%–43%. He is the first Cuban-American Democrat to represent South Florida in Congress, as well as the first non-black Democrat to represent a significant portion of Miami since 1993.
Rep. Garcia was sworn into his first two-year term on January 3, 2013.
Committee assignments 
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Committee on Natural Resources
Personal life 
Garcia was married to Aileen Maria Ugalde, general counsel for the University of Miami. They have one daughter, Gabriela.
- Clark, Lesley "3 Fla Congressional Candidates in Spotlight", The Miami Herald, August 27, 2008, page A2
- Padgett, Tim "Big Trouble in Little Havana", Time Magazine, August 15, 2008
- Rieff, David "Will Little Havana Go Blue?", The New York Times, July 13, 2008
- [dead link]
- Patricia Mazzei (23 September 2010). "Democratic House candidate Joe Garcia more mellow this time around". Miami Herald. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- "Campaigns -- Joe Garcia for FL-25". Democracy for America. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- Jaweed Kaleem (3 November 2010). "Joe Garcia concedes to David Rivera, Allen West leads in Congressional race". Miami Herald. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- Caputo, Marc (August 21, 2012). "Campaign vendors say Republican Congressman David Rivera funded Democrat’s failed primary bid". Miami Herald. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- Marc Caputo; Manny Garcia (2012-09-25). "Rivera ran secret campaign, Sternad tells FBI". The Miami Herald.
- "THE TOP ELECTION 2012 HEADLINES FROM NBC 6 SOUTH FLORIDA AND NBC NEWS". nbcmiami.com. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Representative Joe Garcia official U.S. House website
- Joe Garcia for Congress official campaign website
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Profile at Ballotpedia
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
- Campaign contributions at OpenSecrets.org
- Joe Garcia will run for Collier congressional seat he narrowly lost in 2008 at NaplesNews.com
- Parties Look to Boost Garcia, Rivera at CQPolitics
- Democrats Court Garcia for Florida Race at Wall Street Journal
- Garcia Turns Focus to Tallahassee at Miami Herald
- Congressional Candidate Joe Garcia Urges Crist to Ban Gulf Drilling for Good at NaplesNews.com
- Joe Garcia to jump into race against U.S. Rep. David Rivera at Miami Herald
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 26th congressional district
January 3, 2013 – present
|United States order of precedence|
|United States Representatives by seniority