UPDATE: Read updated version of this story here, with statement from Rivera.
State Rep. Luis Garcia announced Wednesday that he intends to run for Congress against embattled U.S. Rep. David Rivera.
Launching his campaign from Tamiami Park in West Miami-Dade, Garcia, a former Miami Beach fire chief and city commissioner, said he is not running against anyone but for the people of Florida's 25th Congressional District.
"The people want a change, and I want to be a part of that change," he said from a podium under an arch of red, white and blue balloons to several dozen supporters gathered in a multipurpose room at the park.
Garcia, a Democrat, is the first candidate to challenge Rivera, a Republican whose personal and campaign finances have been under investigation since before he was elected last year to fill the seat formerly held by U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.
Rivera posted anemic quarterly fundraising numbers last week, a sign that the wide-ranging investigation is taking its toll on the once-prolific fundraiser.
The 25th district, which spans from western Miami-Dade County to eastern Collier County, leans Republican –- though the mammoth district is likely to be redrawn in next year's decennial redistricting.
Still, Garcia is battle-tested as one of only a couple of Democrats to survive a contested state legislative race in 2010. The Cuban-born Garcia, 65, is known as el bombero, the firefighter. The red-and-yellow campaign logo he used Wednesday features a red firefighters’ hat over the "G" in Garcia's name.
In a 20-minute speech, Garcia emphasized his ties to West Miami-Dade, where he grew up after arriving to Miami from Cuba more than half a century ago.
"This district was my home for 31 years," he said. "I have seen this district totally disenfranchised for the last 10 years...This was a successful, middle-class district."