Would be second out LGBTQ former mayor to serve as member of Congress;
Mayor Garcia is widely credited with Long Beach’s competent pandemic response;
He lost both his mother and stepfather to COVID in summer of 2020
Washington, DC – Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, endorsed Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia for U.S. Congress. Mayor Garcia announced his campaign after sitting U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal announced he will retire and not seek reelection. Mayor Garcia would be the first out LGBTQ immigrant, second out LGBTQ Latinx person and second out LGBTQ former mayor elected to the U.S. Congress.
Equality California – the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization – also announced its endorsement of Mayor Garcia today.
Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, released the following statement about the endorsement:
“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 Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Mayor Garcia went to Long Beach to get things done – and he has – including making the city a national role model for its response to the pandemic and vaccine distribution strategy. His competence is only matched by the heart he brings to governing – using his experiences as an LGBTQ immigrant who lost parents to COVID to inform his policymaking and governing. Mayor Garcia is the type of leader Washington, DC desperately needs and voters are ready to send him there.”
Mayor Garcia has been a leading force in responding to the pandemic and is widely hailed as making Long Beach a model for other cities across the country. Long Beach was credited with having one of the best COVID testing operations in California. Its successful vaccine rollout included being the first city in the state to provide vaccines to grocery store employees and schoolteachers after healthcare workers were inoculated. In summer of 2020, Mayor Garcia lost his mother, Gaby O’Donnell, and stepfather, Greg O’Donnell, to COVID. His mother was a medical assistant who immigrated from Peru when Mayor Garcia was five years old.
Currently, Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Chair and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline is the only out LGBTQ former mayor ever elected to the U.S. Congress. U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres is the only out LGBTQ Latinx person ever elected to the body.
In a statement earlier today, Tony Hoang, Executive Director of Equality California, said the following about the organization’s endorsement of Mayor Garcia:
“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. 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.”
More information about all of Victory Fund’s endorsed candidates is available at victoryfund.org/ourcandidates. Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped thousands of openly LGBTQ candidates win local, state and federal elections.
LGBTQ Victory Fund
LGBTQ Victory Fund works to achieve and sustain equality by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government while ensuring they reflect the diversity of those they serve.