Out Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia on
Friday announced that he is running for the congressional seat held
by Representative Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat who is retiring.
Lowenthal, an LGBT ally,
announced on Thursday that he would retire from Congress at the end
of his term.
“Hey everyone, I'm running for
Congress,” Garcia said in a tweet. “My mom brought me to this
country when I was 5. She risked everything so that I could succeed.
Every single kid deserves the same shot that this country has given
Garcia, 44, was elected to Long Beach's
city council in 2009. He became Long Beach's first openly gay mayor
Equality California, the state's
largest LGBT rights advocate, immediately endorsed Garcia for
“Mayor Garcia has shown throughout
his nearly 13 years in elected office that he has the skill, tenacity
and compassion to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people and the diverse
communities to which we belong,” said Equality California Executive
Director Tony Hoang. “From creating one of the country’s most
comprehensive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic to establishing
transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage in the City of Long Beach,
he has been there for our LGBTQ+ community and for all Californians.
We need a leader like him in Congress, and we’re prepared to do
everything in our power to ensure he is elected in 2022.”
The LGBTQ Victory Fund, which helps
elect out leaders to public office, also endorsed Garcia's campaign.
“Big city mayors make excellent
members of Congress because of the scope of their knowledge and
experience and their focus on practical governing over excuses and
scapegoating,” said LGBTQ Victory Fund President & CEO Annise
Parker, the former mayor of Houston. “Mayor Garcia is the type of
leader Washington, DC desperately needs and voters are ready to send
Garcia lost his mother, Gaby O'Donnell,
who immigrated from Peru, and stepfather, Greg O'Donnell, to
Garcia, a Democrat, lives in Long Beach with his
husband, Matthew Mendez Garcia, a professor.