Carlos Beruff, 58-year-old founder, owner and CEO of Medallion Homes, officially announced Monday his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
For the past 32 years, Beruff has built Manatee County-based Medallion Homes Gulf Coast Inc. into one of the largest home builders in the region. Medallion has constructed more than 2,500 homes in Manatee, Sarasota and Lake counties.
In 2015, the company's revenues topped $83 million.
Along the way, Beruff has been active in politics, mostly as a contributor to Republican candidates. But in 2008, in the midst of the housing downturn, Beruff became more visible as an appointee to three public boards.
Then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Beruff to the State College of Florida Board of Trustees, the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority Board of Commissioners and the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Beruff eventually served as chairman of all three boards, generating controversy when he led the questioning of the fiscal management of former SCF President Lars Hafner and efforts to abolish tenure at SCF.
At the same time, Beruff spearheaded efforts on all three boards to eliminate unnecessary spending. At Swiftmud, his efforts led to more than $600 million in savings at three of the state's water management districts and more than $25 million in savings at SCF.
Beruff told the Observer friends urged him to enter the race back in October. After six weeks of consultations with his wife, Janelle, family and friends, he decided definitively in December to enter the race.
“I am passionate about the direction of our country — especially the fiscal policy,” Beruff said.
“The economy is the key point without a doubt,” he said. “Small businesses are the engine to our economy, and they and the middle class have been getting hammered. Because of things like Obamacare and all the regulations, small businesses can't raise salaries.”
Beruff said the nation's security will also be prominent in his campaign messages. But he noted: “You cannot be the most powerful nation unless you can afford to pay for it.”
A native of Miami, Beruff is the son of Cuban immigrants. He has an older sister and step-sister. He and his second wife have been married for six years. They have a two-year-old son and are expecting a second child in July. Beruff also has an 18-year-old son.