Editor’s note: Today’s opinion page featured guest columns from each of the two candidates for the 27th Congressional District. The column by Garcia’s opponent, challenger Christy Smith, can be found here.
It’s been an honor to serve you over the past two-and-a-half years in Congress. Much has changed since I took office, for the country and the district. The U.S. is at a crossroads. We can choose to strengthen our country, or fold to forces that weaken and eventually defeat us. I will always take the opportunity to build America stronger, and I try to do that every day as your member of Congress.
Since arriving in Washington, I have worked to deliver for the district. I sit on the Appropriations Committee, a critical committee for our defense industry. I also serve as co-chair of the China Task Force, which oversees the competition between the U.S. and our main aggressor: China. But my office in our district has also accomplished an incredible amount, and I’d like to provide a few of the highlights.
In this Congress, my office successfully assisted more than 2,000 constituents with federal casework, holding eight town halls, and responding to 12,512 calls, letters and emails from constituents. Casework will always be our priority as long as we serve.
My office and I also partnered with folks on the ground in Kabul during the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan to successfully evacuate 115 Americans and Afghan allies after the Taliban seized control.
I also work hard to improve the lives of our soldiers, military families and veterans. I was proud to lead the effort to pass the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act, which will give military spouses who require a professional license to work reciprocity from state-to-state when they relocate on military orders.
I also introduced H.R. 9131, the Prioritizing Troops Over Tax Collectors Act, which would reallocate the $80 billion appropriated to the IRS in the Inflation Reduction Act to instead be used for a service member pay raise. The bill would guarantee every service member makes at least $15 an hour. Instead of spending tens of billions to hire 87,000 IRS agents to increase audits on the middle class, we should invest in our troops who sacrifice to keep us safe.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I secured more than $28.5 million in federal funding for projects that will greatly benefit our district, including:
• $1.1 million to improve Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital access, adding emergency personnel lanes and improving roadway operations around the grounds, as well as $610,000 for a new mammography system.
• $2 million for Bridge to Home to provide interim housing for up to eight families in our community.
• $1.5 million for Santa Clarita circulation and safety improvement efforts, which will significantly reduce traffic congestion around choke points by adding capacity.
California is no stranger to emergencies as we struggle year-round from droughts, wildfires and Public Safety Power Shutoffs. I’ve been working to improve water access, reduce wildfires and mitigate impacts of blackouts. Before my efforts to reduce blackouts, constituents experienced them at an alarmingly frequent rate. PSPS events interrupted our work and lives at an untenable rate. But thanks to the efforts of Southern California Edison and my office, blackouts are becoming less frequent and interrupting our lives less. I am grateful for Edison’s partnership in ensuring our community has the infrastructure to prevent frequent PSPS events.
I’ve co-sponsored bills to provide drought relief. Working with fellow members of the California delegation, I cosponsored the WATER for California Act, which would fund water storage for drought relief. I’ve also led efforts to fight wildfires. Bills I’ve introduced, like the PROTECT Act and FIRE Act, would equip land managers with resources to fight and prevent wildfires.
I will always fight for effective policies that serve our community. Radical policies enacted by progressives in Congress and the Biden administration hurt families nationwide. The administration failed to secure the Southern border, causing increased crime. It has enabled a near free flow of fentanyl into our country, killing thousands — 21 in Santa Clarita alone. I’ve co-sponsored legislation, like the HALT Fentanyl Act, to reschedule it as a Schedule 1 narcotic, allowing law enforcement to get this poisonous drug off our streets. To parents, grandparents, teachers and neighbors: Please be vigilant in warning children about fentanyl. Every grey and black market drug contains it and can kill anyone, regardless of age.
The inflation crisis impacts every one of us. Reckless spending by progressives to the tune of $10 trillion over just the last two years has spurred inflation, leaving families hopeless and in dire need of relief. I’ve voted against legislation that aggravated inflation, like the misnamed Inflation Reduction Act, which added spending to the federal deficit. I introduced the Inflation Prevention Act, which would fight out-of-control spending causing inflation and give families a shot to regain their financial foothold. While the majority continues to brush this issue aside, I am working diligently to end this inflation crisis.
This administration and the far left also made a vile attempt to defund police and disparage these heroes who protect and serve. Not only have I stood to defend the police, I’ve also taken steps to improve conditions for our heroic officers. That includes fighting to end a $19,000 annual overtime cap that limits law enforcement’s ability to fight the illegal marijuana grows that posed a major threat to our community. I introduced an amendment that passed with bipartisan support to end the overtime cap and I look forward to its final passage in the House.
While I spend roughly half the year in Washington, D.C., for legislative business, my focus is always on how to best serve our community back home and ensure our nation’s security. I remain confident our country will be able to reverse these negative trends we’re struggling from, and firmly believe our best days are ahead.
Thank you for giving me the honor to represent and serve the community in which I was raised. I will always do my part to ensure our community is as prosperous and secure as possible so future generations can continue to get high-paying jobs, raise a family, and live a peaceful, meaningful life here in Southern California.
Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, is running for re-election in the 27th Congressional District. His campaign website is electmikegarcia.com.