Former Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who will hopefully be sworn in soon as a new member of the U.S. House of Representatives, is bringing a few special items with him to the ceremony.
When taking the oath of office, the openly gay Representative-elect will swear on a copy of the Constitution, but beneath that, there will be an original Superman #1 comic from 1939, a photo of his parents, and a copy of his citizenship certificate.
Garcia will serve as the representative for California’s 42nd Congressional District.
Will be proudly sworn-in to Congress on the U.S. Constitution. Underneath the Constitution will be 3 items that mean a lot to me personally. A photo of my parents who I lost to covid, my citizenship certificate & an original Superman #1 from the @librarycongress. 🇺🇸😊 pic.twitter.com/YGW43OLsIp
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) January 3, 2023
Immigrating to the U.S. from Peru with his family at the age of 5, Garcia says that becoming a naturalized citizen was his proudest moment. It is also the reason why he decided to pursue a political career.
Unfortunately, his parents died in 2020 from COVID-19.
Upon his election as mayor of Long Beach, Garcia became the youngest, the first immigrant, and the first LGBTQ person to serve in the position. During his time in office (2014-2022), he worked with businesses to reduce their environmental impacts, filled vacancies on citizen commissions with diverse and female members, and worked to improve local infrastructure as well as financial opportunities for local artists and home-based business owners.
Now as a Representative-elect, he will be the first LGBTQ immigrant to serve in Congress.
Garcia is also an avid comic book fan.
In November, he tweeted a photo of the Superman #1 comic along with Amazing Fantasy #15, in which Spider-Man first appeared, saying he didn’t know which one he would first check out from the Library of Congress.
I’m going to have a hard time deciding which one to check out first. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/j0X40U40Lk
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) November 14, 2022
While many members of Congress will be sworn in on Bibles, they are not legally required to do so. Former Rep., and current Minnesota attorney general, Keith Ellison (D-MN), who was the first Muslim person elected to Congress in 2007, was sworn in on a copy of the Quran owned by Thomas Jefferson.
As to when Garcia will officially be sworn in, it is hard to say. New members of the House cannot take the oath of office until a speaker is elected. Yesterday, after three votes, no candidate for the speakership was able to get a majority of votes because a faction of Republicans voted against Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has been on a hardcore quest for the position.
McCarthy lost two more times today, and is now being nominated for a sixth ballot.