Can you believe that Long Beach, the quiet little retreat outside Los Angeles where gays go to vacation and retire, has never had a gay mayor?
It’s crazy that it’s taken this long, but after this week’s elections, a queer is finally calling the shots.
And the “gay” label isn’t 36-year-old Robert Garcia’s only historic distinction — he’s also the city’s youngest mayor, and the first Latino.
But let’s not get hung up on demographics; He’s also a swell guy with a hefty resume. Formerly the Vice Mayor, Garcia has led the way to establishing a balanced budget, fixing pension problems, building new parks, and bringing new tech jobs to the area. He’s also involved in public safety, housing and coastal protection.
A native of Peru, Garcia’s family moved to the United States when he was five. He grew up in nearby Covina, and holds several degrees in public policy and communications from both California State University Long Beach and the University of Southern California. In 2009, he co-founded the local news and sports report blog the Long Beach Post.
And although he’s been involved in a wide variety of issues, he’s done plenty to help LGBTs specifically. He authored the city’s Equal Benefits Ordinance in 2010, had a park named after Harvey Milk earlier this year, and sponsored the city’s first comprehensive anti-bullying policy in 2012.
Garcia thanked his constituents for the victory yesterday morning. He’s been actively engaging with fans on social media since:
Thank you, Long Beach! pic.twitter.com/JBpTzXXzq6
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarciaLB) June 4, 2014