Nearly a third of the 2015-2016 California Legislature are first-term members. In this occasional series, The Bee introduces you to Sacramento’s newest lawmakers.
Kids who dream of becoming astronauts or professional athletes rarely see those aspirations realized. Eduardo Garcia wasn’t yet 30 when his came true.
The son of two Mexican field workers with middle school educations, the Democrat from Coachella was more interested in sports than public policy during high school. But a city employee encouraged him to seek a summer internship shooting video of Coachella City Council meetings, and Garcia returned with a bold prediction.
“I recall a seed being planted and walking away that summer telling people when I went back to school that some day I’d be mayor of that city,” Garcia said. “For some it was comical, for others it was ‘why would you want to be mayor?’”
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A post-college stint teaching adult education and watching people strive for opportunity inspired Garcia to seriously pursue the plan. He won a spot on the city council at age 27 and ascended to the mayor’s seat by the time he was 29.
WATCH: Garcia recounts how teaching adult education inspired him:
He has since compiled a resume of working for state legislators, including former Assembly member V. Manuel Pérez, now-Rep. Juan Vargas and state Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego. Garcia and Pérez had discussed one of them seeking a seat in the Assembly, and when Pérez termed out last year, Garcia took it over.
“I didn’t come up here completely blindfolded,” Garcia said.
Education: BA, University of California, Riverside, 2003; M.A. in Planning and Development, University of Southern California, 2012
Career: Coachella City Council member, 2004-2006; Mayor, 2006-2014. Staffer, Assemblyman Many Perez, 2009 - 2010; Sen. Juan Vargas, 2010-2012; Sen. Ben Hueso, 2012-2014
Assembly committees: Chair, Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy; member, Appropriations, Governmental Organization, Transportation