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By Roadtrip Nation

Robert Garcia

Highlight

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Born in Lima, Peru—when he was 5 years old, his family immigrated to Los Angeles in order to escape the violence and economic problems in Peru.
Says he had a “typical immigrant experience”—he moved around a lot, struggled with the language barrier as a native Spanish speaker, and lived in a home with eight other people.
Decided to go to college at Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) and eventually went on to earn his master’s from University of Southern California (USC) and his doctorate from CSULB.
He decided to come out as gay in his 20s and his family was very supportive; he’s since become a passionate supporter and advocate for LGBTQ rights.
Became a United States citizen when he was 21 years old—says that was the defining moment of his life, giving him a sense of responsibility and belonging he had yet to experience.
Was a professor for 10 years teaching courses on communication and public policy at USC, CSULB, and Long Beach City College.
Started getting involved in local politics because he wanted to make a difference—was elected to the Long Beach City Council in 2009 and was unanimously elected as vice mayor of Long Beach in 2012.
In 2014, he was elected mayor of Long Beach—his election broke several barriers, as he was the youngest, first openly gay, first Latino, and first bilingual mayor in the city’s history.
Keep following my journey

Career

Mayor

I am an educator, communications professional, entrepreneur and the 28th Mayor of Long Beach, CA.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Politics
Education
Helping People

Day to Day

I focus a lot of my mayoral work on education and economic development so I spend a lot of time developing initiatives that will increase Long Beach's school enrollment, student opportunities, building new housing, increasing job opportunities, and more. It's a lot of meetings, phone calls, personal appearances, and giving speeches. I work to articulate the different perspectives on issues to the city council so we can make the best decisions for our community.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Get an education. If you are able to go to college, there is no better tool to help you succeed. Once you have a college degree, that education, that knowledge can never be taken away from you.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"How can you be a mayor, you're gay?"

Challenges I Overcame

LGBT
First-Generation Immigrant
First-Generation College Student

Interviewed By

Beating the Odds

Beating the Odds

Beating the Odds Roadtrip