Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1954, Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his family immigrated to the United States in 1960. He graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in 1972 and later earned a bachelors of public administration from Barry University.

Gimenez was a firefighter during the '70s and was appointed fire chief in 1991, and served until 2000. He was manager of the City of Miami between May 2000 and January 2003.

He was elected to the Miami-Dade County Commission in 2004, serving the county's 7th district. He was elected Mayor of Miami-Dade County June 28, 2011, following the recall of former Mayor Carlos Alvarez.