During his term as congressman, Mike Garcia has done an excellent job of maintaining a high profile. Rarely a week goes by without a Signal photo of Garcia at a community outreach event. Likewise, one cannot drive a mile in our district without being distracted by an oversized, patriotically themed sign for Garcia’s reelection. The candidate’s messaging presents Garcia as a warrior, ready to fight for the welfare of his constituents.
Less frequently broadcast, however, are the actions Garcia has taken that clearly demonstrate that, in fact, he does not represent our district, which is purple in hue, not scarlet red. Rather, he represents the radical faction of his party and its efforts to undermine our democracy. Citizens wary of political extremism need to reflect on these actions before casting their vote in the November election.
Garcia’s record demonstrates a disregard for the sanctity of institutions designed to protect democracy. Just days after taking office, he voted to (challenge two states’ electors in the) 2020 presidential election, thereby rejecting the public’s will and undermining the credibility of our election process. He voted against impeaching former President Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 attack on our Capitol. He claimed that the FBI’s legal seizure of classified government documents from Mar-a-Lago (documents that, by the way, belong to us, the American public — not any president, current or former) was akin to the “Third Reich.” Later apologizing for the comment does not negate the mentality behind making it: that the FBI and any other institution carrying out oversight on his faction’s leader is illegitimate. Garcia’s frequent claim that his opponents have a “socialist agenda,” his opposition to expanding voter registration and voter access, his unwillingness to prioritize renewable energy, his “A” grade from the NRA — these are just a few of the positions that identify him as a member of the radical right.
Garcia’s extremism is especially threatening to women and gender minority groups. He co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, a bill that would ban all abortions, no matter the circumstances. He voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would establish a federal law protecting women’s right to abortion, denied by the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe v. Wade. He also rejected the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act and the federal Equality Act, designed to protect Americans from discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Even more shocking was Garcia’s vote against a bill that would protect a woman’s right to birth control. Garcia seems set on dragging us all back to the 19th century via government’s intrusion in the most personal aspects of our lives.
On his website, Garcia states, “I believe in capitalism.” Indeed, his appeal to business owners focusing exclusively on economic policy is understandable. However, believing in capitalism is not the same as believing in democracy. A healthy, vibrant democracy relies upon leaders who cherish the institutions that sustain that democracy — and the rights of women, 51% of the population. Sadly, Republicans have avoided rejecting those party members who distort viable GOP values, like free enterprise and limited government, while pandering to zealots. We deserve a representative who speaks for all of us, not just for those on the fringe.
Sarah Menoher Freifeld