LONG BEACH, Calif. — Robert Garcia took office as the 28th mayor of Long Beach, Calif. on Tuesday, making him both the first openly gay person and first Latino ever to serve as the Southern California city’s chief executive.
Garcia, who at 38 is also the city’s youngest mayor, emphasized the need to represent all of the city’s constituencies after his historic election.
“I think it’s important for people to know that I plan to be mayor for everybody equally,” Garcia told the Orange County Register earlier this month. “So, regardless of where they live, what they look like, who they love or what they do for a living, I’ve been elected by the city so I plan on being mayor for everyone.”
Garcia immigrated to the U.S. from Peru with his family at 5 years old. He graduated from California State University, Long Beach, and received a master’s degree from the University of Southern California.
His political career began in 2008, when he founded the North Pine Neighborhood Alliance, an advocacy group for the city’s downtown residents and businesses. A year later, Garcia defeated six other candidates to fill a vacancy on the city council.