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 me.”

Garcia, 44, was elected to Long Beach's city council in 2009. He became Long Beach's first openly gay mayor in 2014.

Equality California, the state's largest LGBT rights advocate, immediately endorsed Garcia for Congress.

“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 him there.”

Garcia lost his mother, Gaby O'Donnell, who immigrated from Peru, and stepfather, Greg O'Donnell, to COVID-19.

Garcia, a Democrat, lives in Long Beach with his husband, Matthew Mendez Garcia, a professor.