Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced today he is running for California’s Long Beach-based congressional seat in 2022. In a video announcement on Twitter, he dedicated his campaign to his late mother who brought him to America when he was five and passed away from COVID-19 early in the pandemic.
“My mom brought me to this country and risked everything so that I could become an American,” Robert says in the video. “She came here never doubting that America was a place where her immigrant son could succeed. That’s why today, I am fighting for every kid to get the same shot that this country gave me.”
Robert is most widely known for his tenure as Long Beach mayor and his leadership of the city during the darkest days of the pandemic.
After losing both his mom, a health care worker, and stepfather to COVID-19, Robert vowed to work as hard as he could to ensure other families wouldn’t experience the same pain. He threw himself into expanding Long Beach’s mobile testing and vaccination efforts — lifesaving programs which went on to receive national recognition from health experts and praise from the White House and Governor Newsom. Long Beach was the first city in California to vaccinate educators – allowing Long Beach Unified to reopen schools before most other districts — and the first city to vaccinate 99% of its senior population. The New York Times profiled the city’s vaccination efforts, calling it “a model for vaccine rollout” in the state.
As Mayor, Robert has overseen a period of unprecedented economic growth and expansion of opportunity for city residents. Robert launched initiatives like tuition-free community college, a universal basic income pilot, and a pandemic recovery package to ensure every Long Beach resident could share in the city’s success. Under his leadership, the city passed an aggressive climate action plan to end the city’s reliance on fossil fuel while protecting and expanding good-paying jobs. He was the first Mayor of Long Beach to have appointed a majority of women to city commissions and boards.
As Donald Trump entered the White House, Robert moved aggressively to ensure Long Beach protected its immigrant, Muslim, and LGBTQ residents. He believes cities like Long Beach — where neighbors from every conceivable background live side by side and look out for each other — represent the best of America.
Robert grew up in Southern California, and he is married to Matthew Mendez Garcia, a professor of political science at California State University, Long Beach. He was featured as a “rising star” in the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Upon his election, Robert became the first Latino, immigrant and LGBTQ elected mayor in the city’s history, and he would be the first LGBTQ immigrant to serve in Congress.