Mayor Robert Garcia is in Washington D.C. this week to take part in the United States Conference of Mayors’ 83rd Winter Meeting, a three-day event that will bring together nearly 300 mayors from across the country to discuss the economy, community policing, innovation and transportation.

Garcia, who is making his first trip to the Washington as Mayor of Long Beach, is scheduled to speak today at a pre-conference about education, which has been his main focus since taking office last June. The mayor is also scheduled to meet with members of Congress and representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers about funding for the breakwater ecosystem restoration study he’s previously proposed. Many of the topics being covered at the conference are issues Garcia has emphasized during his first six months in office. 

The mayor said that having a strong relationship with Washington is pivotal to the future development of Long Beach.

“It is important that we have a strong voice in Washington DC and that we are advocating for national policies that benefit Long Beach,” Garcia said in a statement. “To successfully restore the LA River, modernize the port, or to expand pre-school access, we need support from the White House and Congress.”

Garcia will join 50 other mayors from the state at the conference and is scheduled to attend a reception hosted by President Barack Obama at the White House. The conference will come on the heels of the President’s State of the Union Address to be given tonight. A watch party will be hosted in the attendees of the conference and mayors will remark on the President’s speech at an opening conference January 21.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors meets twice a year and is designed to bring city leaders together with administration officials and congressional leaders to ensure the health and economic recovery of American cities according to the organization’s website. This year’s conference of mayors plenary sessions can be live streamed here

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.