Less than 24 hours after Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster announced that he would not be seeking a third term as a write-in candidate next year, Vice Mayor and 1st District Councilmember Robert Garcia released a video through social media that revealed he will be running for mayor in April 2014. 

“I love our city. I love our people. This is an incredible place to live,” Garcia said in the video, which was posted on a new Robert Garcia For Mayor YouTube channel Wednesday afternoon. “…I believe that the best days for our city are ahead. That’s why I’m announcing I am running for Mayor of Long Beach.”

Garcia joins four others currently seeking the position, including 5th District Councilmember Gerrie Schipske; Damon Dunn, a political independent and real estate investment firm founder; Long Beach City College Trustee and attorney, Doug Otto; and two-time 1st District candidate and treasurer of the Willmore Heritage Association, Jana K. Shields.

Both Schipske and Garcia are openly gay and as the only two who currently hold a poltical office in Long Beach, are the most notable candidates to enter the race so far. 

In addition to his positions at City Hall, Garcia, 35, is a part-time professor at the University of Southern California and was recently appointed to the California Coastal Commission. When he was elected into office in 2009, he became the youngest person, the first Latino male and the second openly gay candidate to serve on city council.

He attended the University of Southern California and is a graduate of Cal State Long Beach, where he was president of the Student Association. A former registered Republican and founding member of Long Beach Young Republicans, Garcia has come under fire in the past for switching his political party to Democrat prior to running for city council.

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