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Irina Vilariño for Congress!

Statement from Irina Vilariño Campaign on Carlos Gimenez Entering Congressional Race For Florida 26:

"I know that Republican voters will want to learn how a person who endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, and wanted to leave the Republican party in 2014 will have the conviction to defend the policies that are vital for the prosperity of our country and our community."



At the age of 4, I left Cuba and arrived in Florida with my parents during the Mariel Boat Lift. My parents worked hard and instilled in me and my sisters faith in God, loyalty to family, a commitment to hard work, and a love of freedom. These are the values that, I believe, have made America great and continue to make it the destination of hope for oppressed peoples throughout the world.

My parents only wanted an opportunity, not a guarantee. They opened a fruit stand and later my father learned to cook and opened a restaurant. Our entire family poured our energy into that enterprise, and today, we operate multiple restaurants and employ hundreds of people.

I am deeply concerned about the extreme leftward shift in our political discourse. Young people today are being sold a lie by the liberal media and the Democrat Party leadership who are promising them that they can have everything for nothing. This is the promise of every socialist movement, and it ultimately ends in unfulfilled expectations and tyranny.

As a Cuban political prisoner, my father knows firsthand the price paid when government controls every aspect of life.

I am running for Congress because I want to set the record straight that under socialism there is only an equal opportunity to achieve poverty, and I want to remind the liberal extremists that in freedom, every person has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

I believe in our constitution and the objective truth that undergirds the constitution. As our next Congressman, I will advocate for a strong military and American leadership abroad, free market economic principles, and the protection of our natural resources and quality of life.

My grandparents emigrated to Cuba from Spain to escape socialism. My parents came to the United States from Cuba to escape communism. If we don’t fight to preserve our freedoms here, there is no place left in the world for my daughter to go. We must preserve the American Dream. This is the cause that will define the success of our generation, and I urge you to join with me on this mission. 


Irina Vilariño, a Republican, will challenge incumbent Debbie Mucarsel-Powell with a platform of pro-growth economic policies and a tough stance against dictators like Nicolás Maduro.

Irina Vilariño announced her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida’s 26th District. Vilariño, a Cuban-American Republican, has built a successful career working to expand her family’s restaurant business, which includes 15 restaurants across South Florida and more than 400 employees. The District 26 seat is currently held by Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunities my family has had to live the American Dream,” said Vilariño. “I am passionate about preserving the possibility of achieving success for other families in search of a better life. It’s imperative that we protect and promote our free enterprise system rather than give way to calls for socialist policies that may sound appealing but always end up undermining freedom and prosperity.”

Vilariño arrived in Florida from Cuba with her family as part of the Mariel boat lift in 1980 when she was a small child. An early and staunch supporter of President Trump, she plans to run on a platform that includes pro-growth policies like lower taxes and fewer regulations as well as secure borders and a tough stance against dictators like Nicolás Maduro and Raúl Castro.

“I know the difference between freedom and oppression, which is why I believe so deeply in protecting our constitutional rights,” said Vilariño. “The people of Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties deserve a strong, clear voice in Congress that is committed to fighting for those rights. And I will be a champion for our brothers and sisters who continue to struggle under oppressive regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and anywhere else around the world where basic human rights are trampled. American leadership in the world has been a beacon of hope and freedom, and we must never forfeit the privilege and responsibility of standing up to regimes that stifle freedom and opportunity.”

Vilariño and her daughter live in Miami, where they attend Epiphany Catholic Church.  


Irina Vilariño is a mother and business owner residing in South Florida.

As a small child, she arrived in Florida from Cuba with her family as part of the Mariel boat lift in 1980. Her parents sought freedom, political stability, and the ability to live in dignity, and Irina has followed in their footsteps with that same direction in her own life.

Like many new exiles, her parents started out with a simple small business: a fruit-stand. Just a few years later, her parents opened their first restaurant in 1984. The family business has now expanded to include multiple restaurants and real estate investments, and in that process, they have employed hundreds of people throughout South Florida. Irina attended Stetson University and Florida International University in Miami. Her views on our economy and the American Dream have been largely shaped by the real-world experience gained from taking a leadership role in the family business her entire adult life.

Irina understands and is committed to supporting policies that promote and expand free enterprise. As an early and strong supporter of President Trump’s policies, she has seen the boost his tax cuts have provided to businesses and employees, and she is committed to getting rid of the regulation and red tape that stifles job creation.

Irina knows firsthand the difference between freedom and oppression. Her father and uncle both were political prisoners in the Castro gulags. She believes deeply in protecting our constitutional rights, including the right to life and to keep and bear arms. She is fully behind President Trump’s efforts to protect our borders, and she stands with him in his tough stance against dictators like Nicolas Maduro, Raul Castro, and Daniel Ortega.

Because she has lived the American Dream, Irina is passionate about preserving the possibility of achieving success for other families in search of a better life. She and her eight-year-old daughter worship at Epiphany Catholic Church. 


The strength of a family is at the core of society. America thrives when families have all the elements to succeed. The federal government must not be an obstacle to a family’s growth, health and prosperity, but should direct its policies to aid in the opportunity for all families to achieve their American Dream.

Make Healthcare Affordable and Accessible. If a family must decide between a mortgage payment and a health insurance premium, government has failed. The reality today is that the burden of covering sky-rocketing healthcare has fallen squarely on the shoulders of hardworking American families. We must find a better solution that reduces healthcare insurance premiums, allows small businesses to secure affordable insurance for their workers, protects pre-existing conditions, and controls the cost of healthcare.

Give Parents More Control Over Education. Education is the pathway for future generations to improve on the opportunities of previous ones. A parent is best suited to decide what is best in their child’s education. The federal government must respect a parent’s role and make sure that families have all the choices available to them to make the best decisions so that zip code or socio-economic level are not factors in the opportunities for a child to obtain the best possible education.

Provide Family Leave Options. The Paid Family Leave Act would allow for new parents to obtain up to three months of their Social Security Benefits to take leave and care for their newborn or adopted child.   

The federal government’s primary responsibility is to provide for our national defense. Some would suggest that America can best reduce conflict in the world by weakening itself and thus keep the world more in balance. What history has shown us is that every time America voluntarily reduces its commitment to her military strength, others will try to fill the void of strength. My philosophy is the same as President Theodore Roosevelt’s. I believe that we should walk softly and carry a big stick.

Fund our Military. Fully fund the resources our military needs to maintain combat readiness for all four branches of the military while also keeping our financial commitment to our veterans for their service. This means that as a part of the budgetary process, our military and veterans should be funded first and all other priorities thereafter.

Protect our Borders. Our borders are more than our southern border. We need to finish the wall, but we also need to focus on our seaport and airport security. With one of the nation’s busiest seaports and airports in the country right here in Miami, we understand the need for a broader approach.

Lead in the Caribbean and Latin America. Congress should fully back President Trump’s strong stance against an oppressive dictator like Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and should encourage his administration to continue to also take steps to stimulate stable representative governments in Cuba and Nicaragua. America’s interests are strongly linked to our friends and allies in this hemisphere, and we need to do everything we can to stimulate democratic reform in our neighbors, for where freedom exists, friendship with America also exists. 

Without a doubt, Israel is the United States’ most important ally in the Middle East. It’s a relationship that ranges from military assistance and foreign aid to programs for cultural and academic exchanges. This bond is critical to U.S. national security interests and vital to the Jewish State. Congress should not only preserve this special relationship; it should continuously seek to strengthen it.

Federal policies should support an economic culture that provides opportunity by guaranteeing a system of free market capitalism. The fate of our small businesses and entrepreneurs should be held in the hands of normal economic forces not in the bookshelves of a federal bureaucrat. That is essentially what happens when we over-tax and over-regulate our economy.

Reduce Taxes. We would be better served by removing the income tax and replacing it with a national sales tax or other type of consumer-oriented tax. That way we will tax consumption, not production and income. It is estimated that after the average citizen and small businessman or woman pays their taxes at all levels of government, they are sending over 50% of their income to fund the bureaucracy. This is unsustainable and must be stopped.

Stop the Spending. Reckless spending and spiraling debt have encumbered future generations with trillions in debt. In addition, because of the way that we govern our own money supply, when we spend too much money, we devalue the dollar. That hurts retirees, working families, and college kids even more so than it hurts big industrial titans. We must live within our means.

Invest in Infrastructure. The one way the federal government can ensure that our economy is on solid footing is by making sure that our infrastructure – ports, roads, and communications systems – are in good working order so that our citizens can move goods and services quickly, both domestically and internationally. As a trading hub of the Caribbean and South America, we understand how vital this is. 

Our natural resources are critical to our long-term success as a nation. Our health and quality of life is dependent upon them. Equally so, our quality of life is also dependent upon our commitment to the values that are enshrined in our families and in our constitution.

Finish the Everglades Clean-Up. South Florida is one of the most desirable areas in the country to live, but our growth threatens that desirability. That’s why we need to bring our federal funding and the Army Corps of Engineers together to finish the Everglades clean-up now before it is too late. Preserving this jewel will guarantee our water quality for decades to come.

Safeguard our Beaches and Reefs. Our beaches and reefs are natural resources in Florida that provide for our fishing and tourism industries in dramatic ways. We must ensure that funding remains in place to help protect both assets.

Maintain our Commitment to Our Constitutional Rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – this concept was embedded in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. All 10 of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution must never be compromised. We must protect life at every stage, protect our personal liberties, and provide everyone with the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. 


How Can You Get Involved?

You Can Help our State by Working with Irina in our Fight for Quality Representation in Congress by offering Your Talent and Support.

Volunteer Time

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Event Hosting

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Financial Contributions

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Visual Advertising

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Contact Irina and let her know the issues dear to your heart or make arrangements to get involved with the campaign!