Wasco Tribune - Serving the community since 1970

By Toni DeRosa
Wasco Tribune 

Mayor Garcia: youth, passion and experience

 

January 10, 2019 | View PDF

Alex Garcia's official photograph from 2016 when first elected to thle City Council.

He's walked the streets, put up signs, addressed public forums, made political speeches and held impromptu gatherings in support of a political idea or candidate. He may be Wasco's youngest mayor, but Alex Garcia has already packed a wealth of political experience into his 29 years. "I love Alex's energy and his ability to come up with new ideas," said Councilmember Tilo Cortez. "He's passionate about Wasco and what he can do to keep making Wasco the best place to live."

A 2007 graduate of Wasco High School, Garcia was heavily involved in Future Farmers of America and was an officer at both the local chapter and sectional levels. He ran for a state FFA officer position, but lost that election. But Garcia said, "Through that experience, I got my first taste of politics."

Garcia then attended Fresno State, where he spent time during the summers as a volunteer registering voters in rural communities within Fresno County. Upon graduation, Garcia moved to Las Vegas and spent the next seven months working on the Obama 2012 re-election campaign.

While in Fresno, Garcia worked with the Service Employees International Union -- United Healthcare Workers West on two initiatives which aimed to improve patient care in California hospitals. "It was fun, because several years later, that organization moved me to San Francisco for six months." he said.

After leaving Fresno and returning to Wasco, and becoming a member of the City Council, Garcia became a political watchdog keeping an eye on the 2018 Fourth Supervisorial District election. He followed the election because of the recent decision the court made regarding Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund against the county; however, redistricting didn’t change the outcome of the supervisor race, since the incumbent, David Couch, won anyway. “The lawsuit cost Kern County $1.5 million,” Garcia said.

Intrigued by the City by the Bay, Garcia stayed for several months after his position was completed. "San Francisco was an experience," he said. "It's so different from the Valley and also so expensive!" Garcia did return to Fresno to help Amanda Renteria run for Congress.

Eventually, Garcia found his way back to Wasco and won his bid for Wasco City Council in 2016. Since that time, he has taken his political experience and passion for the area and poured it into ideas on ways to serve the people of Wasco. For one such project, Garcia recruited several hair and beauty professionals to offer free back-to-school haircuts to any youth that needed one.

Now in his year as mayor, a couple of Garcia's goals are to to unite all the churches in Wasco, as well as have the city work closely with the school districts. "I would like to have a round table with both school districts and the city, as well as a separate round table with all the faith leaders. I want to bring people together for the betterment of Wasco and the quality of life for residents."

Garcia also plans to focus on industrial growth in the area and he continues to stay involved with discussions regarding the high-speed rail. "If it's going to happen and come through Wasco," Garcia stated, "I want to make the best of it and reap the biggest reward for our residents as possible. I hope the heavy maintenance facility ultimately gets built in the Wasco area, which will bring employment, housing and a lot more economic activity to Wasco."

In the area of political processes, Garcia would like to see Wasco move to an elected mayor, which would be a two- orfour-year term. Currently, the City Council selects one member to serve as mayor for one year. "Just when the mayor is getting his bearings on the job, the term is up and a new mayor is selected," he said. "I think the mayor needs to have a longer term in office."

But Garcia's life is not all politics. Garcia works in medical billing with his mother at Garcia Billing Services. "At the present time, we have about ten facilities around Kern County that we bill for," said Garcia. "I want to help my mom continue to grow the business she built over more than ten years."

He also enjoys spending time on the disc golf course. "There are chain baskets and you can spot them at many different parks in Kern County. The player throws a disc and tries to get it into the basket. It may take several throws before you make it in the basket (if you are a newbie)," he said. Garcia admitted, "The disc looks like a Frisbee, but that's not what a player calls it. It's called a disc!"

Toni DeRosa | Wasco Tribune

Alex Garcia at the November City Council meeting acknowledging Veterans James Madrone and Danny Rueda.

While he's being active, or just driving around in his car, Garcia is also a fan of country music and movie soundtracks. A recent soundtrack he has been listening to is A Star is Born, with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. "I've been blasting it in my car," he said. "I also love the song "Heaven" by Kane Brown."

To talk politics with Garcia makes you feel like you are speaking with an old soul, someone who has been around politics for years and years. He is knowledgeable and passionate. He keeps abreast of things occurring in many different areas within the city of Wasco, Kern County and the State of California. He also keeps close tabs on Washington, D. C. And now he is ready and excited to pour his youth, passion and energy into this term as mayor.

[A previous version of his story referred to Michael Rubio in Congress. He was not a congressman; he was on the Board of Supervisors.

Also, Garcia's relationship with MALDEF and its lawsuit against Kern County was clarified in a subsequent editing of the original story.]

 

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