Since his unsuccessful November run for mayor of Houston, Adrian Garcia hasn’t wasted any time bemoaning his loss or resting on his laurels as a former city councilman or Harris County sheriff during his current bid to run for the U.S. Congress.
On Jan. 2, with spent firecrackers and fresh confetti still on the ground, an enthusiastic Garcia officially opened his new campaign headquarters. Before about 50 residents, businessmen, and community leaders of District 29, the largely poor, Hispanic residential and industrial area in Houston’s East End where Garcia grew up and his wife and family still live, he announced that he’s going up against the District’s long-time incumbent, U.S. Congressman Gene Green.
Since then, he’s been busy roaming the district, pointing out major differences between
himself and Green, and drumming up support among the people he hopes will become his voters and constituents.
On Thursday, Garcia’s campaign released a petition asking people to stand with President Obama’s executive action in support of closing loopholes in gun sales.
“As a law enforcement officer with over 30 years of service, I have come face to face with senseless gun violence. As a parent, I am saddened students have to be taught what to do in the event that there is a shooter on campus,” Garcia stated in the release. “¡Ya basta! Enough is enough.”
On the same day, he visited potential voters at the Taqueria El Alteno on Houston’s Harrisburg Boulevard, and later joined MOMS Against Gun Violence at the Lindale Civic Club. In a related press release, Garcia characterized Green as the NRA’s favorite Democrat.
Back at the opening of Garcia’s headquarters, supporters ranged in age and ethnic background but were unanimous in their enthusiasm for the campaign.
Tina Gutierrez, 37, a medical assistant studying to become an occupational therapist, lives in the Alief community on the western part of Houston, on the opposite side of the city from East End’s industrial/residential District 29. Nevertheless, she is supporting Garcia’s bid to be that district’s representative in the U.S. Congress, just as she voted for him as her choice to become the city’s mayor.
“I did some volunteer phone bank work (for Garcia) last year,” Gutierrez said. “I’m going to come back and I wanted to volunteer again this time around (because as sheriff) he’s saved $200 million dollars in taxpayers’ money. He’s done a good job.”
Monica, Garcia’s wife of 23 years, introduced the candidate as a person with integrity, intelligence, energy, of which she said he has in abundance.
“The question is, what are you going to change… My New Year’s resolution is to go to Congress and work for you,” Adrian Garcia said. “You are here about touching lives and changing lives and saving lives in the District. You care that 92 percent of the district does not have a college education, you care that 54 percent of the people in this district does not own their own homes, that 20 percent live at or below the poverty, and almost half of the kids going to school in the 29th District are are turning down their opportunities for a successful life by dropping out of school. You are here because you don’t want more of the same.”
To a cheering crowd, Garcia outlined his plan to win the campaign, asking his supporters throughout Houston to spread the word, donate money and/or time, and refuse to give up on the next generation of people from this district.
“(This campaign) is not about me; it’s not about any individual,” he concluded. “It’s about the lives and the families who need leadership and a loud voice in Congress.”
Mr. Sharfa, 83, a former engineer who owned his own company, signed up to volunteer as a campaign worker, saying that he’s known Garcia for a long time and wants to do whatever he can to help him win.
“He’s a good guy,” Sharfa said. “I don’t know what I can do, but I want to do whatever I can to support him.”
Ten-year-old Rebecca Longoria spent the press conference making signs for Garcia’s candidacy.
“He’s really nice and he will make a really good congressman,” Rebecca said. “I met him last year and he understands everybody.”
Carlos Calbillo, a district organizer and local businessman, said that over the years, Green has gotten out of touch and a replacement is needed. Garcia, Calbillo said, is the one to get the job done.
“In running for Congress, Adrian is doing a pre-emptive strike against many of the Mexican-American political class — so-called leaders — who have lined up behind Gene Green and have hidden agendas in supporting him. I’m just so happy that Adrian has taken this major step, which I think will be of great benefit to our community.”