Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez announced Thursday he's running for mayor in hopes of cleaning up the county.
"There's a lot of waste, there's a lot of corruption in county government right now," Martinez said in a phone interview with NBC Miami Thursday.
Martinez will go up against current Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who was elected last June following the recall of Mayor Carlos Alvarez.
"Miami-Dade County is not alone in facing a recession that has left our country reeling in unemployment, foreclosures, and an overall feeling of despair. We even had the largest recall of an elected official in U.S. history," Martinez said in a statement. "Many took advantage of this opportunity for personal ambition. I could not. I followed the advice of my father to 'Finish what I start.'"
Martinez didn't mention Gimenez by name but took a shot at the county's leadership.
"There is and has been a void in leadership. Miami-Dade County does not need a bureaucrat running the County," Martinez said in the statement. "For too long bureaucrats have been attempting to lead our County and have failed."
Asked about Gimenez over the phone, Martinez said he liked him as a person but said it's time for a change in government.
"He's a very nice man, he's a very decent individual, where we differ is in how to get somewhere, how to do it," Martinez said.
Gimenez responded with a statement detailing his six month record in office, saying he's slashed property taxes without affecting essential services, eliminated 17 departments and set the foundation for next year's budget.
"Although not a surprise to county hall political insiders, I firmly believe that this is not the time to start talking about mayoral politics, especially in light of the many challenges we face as a community," Gimenez said. "The time for politics will come, meanwhile I will continue to lead our community through these most challenging economic times with integrity, transparency and conviction."
Martinez said he and Gimenez had clashed over the reorganization of the county and more recently, the police department healthcare battle.
"We divided the community and I'm not about dividing," Martinez said of the healthcare battle. A modified proposal was approved by commissioners earlier this week.
Martinez, a former Miami-Dade police officer, was elected to represent District 11 in 2000 and became chairman in 2010.