Saugus resident Mike Garcia announced Tuesday that he seeks to become the next representative of California’s 25th Congressional District.
After 25 years working as a decorated United States Naval Officer and an executive at Raytheon, Garcia said Wednesday he declared for Congress as a Republican nominee because he’s been a patriot all his life.
“My decision to run is a natural continuation of my dedication to serve the country,” Garcia said in a phone call Tuesday. “Having spent 15 years as a naval officer flying (aircrafts) in combat over Iraq, it’s in my DNA to do the right thing and serve the country. This is in substantiation of that.”
Garcia added his campaign is in direct response to Rep. Katie Hill, “and her lack of leadership in the current position. I think she’s on the verge of throwing away values that we’ve fought for over the last 20 years,” he said. “Rather than sit on on the sidelines, I decided to do something about it and run against her.”
Garcia said he supports ideals related to patriotism, “so citizens can take pride in the country as an international leader.”
He also wants to allow businesses in the district, whether they be large or small, to be able to operate without too much government oversight and taxation.
“I think there’s a responsibility of a congressman to reach out and communicate to understand where the needs are,” Garcia said, so those problems can be taken to Capitol hill and solutions can be crafted.
“And probably the biggest thing to me is taking care of our military and our veterans,” Garcia said. “Not only in the form of care and services, but it’s also making sure our military gets the adequate levels of funding that we’re starting to see out of the current administration and protecting those larger budgets so we can recover from 20 years of warfare.”
As a first-generation American citizen and son of a father who legally immigrated from Mexico in 1959, the Saugus resident said he takes great pride in his culture — both on his mother’s side and his father’s.
“Being first generation has allowed me to take pride and appreciate what this country offers and the opportunities that are provided if you work hard,” Garcia said. “I’ve really been instilled with those values.”
When asked if he supports a border wall, Garcia said, “I am in favor of national security policies that protect our way of living and our people — both domestically and internationally. It’s certainly a multifaceted issue that has several elements to it, but border security is a priority.”
Garcia said the nation is recovering from a large recession and a downturn in military defense spending, “so the recent uptick in defense budgets needs to be protected and it needs to be extended.”
The candidate feels this will not only protect the nation, but it will also help the local aerospace industry.
“It’s a lot of jobs and revenue,” Garcia said. “And it brings excellent technology to the warfighter, which is critical.”
The candidate said his experience in the fields of defense and business are but a few of the many qualifications that set him apart from other congressional hopefuls like Suzette Valladares, Charles Patron and those who may declare in the future.
“Having served my country for 15 years, being the son of an immigrant that came here in the late ’50s and then also being a business leader at my own small business and as an executive at a larger corporation,” Garcia said, “I know what it means to defend our district… I also know what it means to manage a business and how to be successful on the back of hard work and quality projects.”
Garcia added these experiences are why he’s been endorsed by former Reps. Howard “Buck” McKeon and Elton Gallegly.
“I’ve known Mike for 25 years. It was my honor to nominate him for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1994. He served our country on the battlefield and he’ll serve us again in Congress,” McKeon said in a news release Tuesday.
Gallegly added in the same release, “I’m delighted that we have a well-rounded field of candidates in the primary campaign for the 25th congressional seat… After careful review I feel that Mike Garcia is the best prepared candidate. He is a fighter and a leader with a life experience that will serve the 25th Congressional District at a critical time in the history of our nation.”
Garcia said he hopes to gain more support once he is out talking with voters and community leaders about the issues that are most important to them.
“We’ll be doing an extensive outreach program,” Garcia said, adding he will hold private and public speaking engagements in the coming months.
“And we also have to fundraise. The bottom line is we need to raise money,” he said. “Katie Hill and her party have raised significant amounts of money for these races and we need to match that or better.”