Mike Garcia has answered the call to serve his country. Now, he’s hearing the call again.
Garcia attended the Naval Academy out of Saugus High School before becoming a fighter pilot who saw action in the Iraq War, flying 30 missions above Baghdad, Fallujah and Tikrit, according to his campaign website.
Now, unhappy with the result of the 2018 election that sent Katie Hill to Congress, Garcia, 43 has decided he wants to serve again, as the 25th district representative.
“Why not me? I do believe I’m qualified. I do believe I can do the job and represent the district well. I have the background to do so. I’ve got the track record of proven performance,” Garcia said, referring to not only his military record but his near decade working for The Raytheon Company, a defense contractor. “I wouldn’t have been able to look at my sons and I also wouldn’t have been able to look at myself in the mirror and go, ‘OK, you could have done this.’”
“I do believe our nation is at an inflection point right now. Nothing is guaranteed moving forward. We are in a relative peaceful era right now and an era of prosperity right now. The decisions over the next two to six years will either improve that or prevent that from continuing. That really is the reason I’m doing it.”
In short, Garcia doesn’t believe Hill (D-Agua Dulce) represents the district, that she’s too busy currying favor with House leadership to pay attention to her constituents’ needs. Plus, she’s raising a lot of cash, including $256,592 from political action committees, according to Open Secrets.
“It’s important for the constituents to look at where the money is coming from. It’s important for constituents to understand the magnitude and the investment that these people from outside the district are putting into her (Hill),” Garcia said, “and I do think that really matters, how you’re funded and how you’re propped up by large money is a problem for a lot of folks, but definitely a problem for our current congresswoman.”
Garcia believes as California goes, so goes the country. “The irony is that California, as much debt as we are in and the tax issues we’ve had and the homelessness and everything else, the reason we are still viable and the reason California is doing OK is because the economy at the national level is doing so well,” he said. “We’re really only one bad move away at the national level from having real challenges in California.”
Garcia also believes the process to fix things would take between two and eight years, and he doesn’t have time for that, so he’s getting involved.
“I don’t want my sons to grow up in a nation – it’s bad enough they’re growing up in a state where they’re going to have a hard time finding housing they can afford, they’re going to be taxed to death,” he said, “but to have that be compounded at the national level potentially and see that our economy goes down the tubes and our unemployment rate skyrockets is a real concern. That is the impetus to put that service hat back on.”
So, what does Garcia stand for, other than getting rid of Hill?
• He stands for experience. After leaving the Navy, he studied national security and military doctrine at Georgetown. Then at Raytheon, he enjoyed a high-level security clearance spending 90 percent of his time in business development: bidding on new contracts, winning some, and working with the defense department to find solutions to problems.
“I’m not going to spend six years learning the systems and programs,” he said. “I have firsthand experience on the front lines and the technical background.”
• He favors term limits, between 10 and 12 years. After that, he believes, incumbents get too entrenched and forget to whom they are beholden: the constituents, not the money.
• He’s worried about the national debt, currently at more than $22 trillion, and has a three-step process to get it under more manageable control.
First, balance the budget. Increasing taxes is not the answer, he said. Instead, recalibrate the balance between taxes and spending.
Second, incentivize departments to save money, which he says is “a lost art at the national level.” He knows that if a federal department comes in under budget, Congress will allot less money next time. Instead, he wants to give credit for saving money, and use that money to pay down the debt.
Third, consolidate departments as necessary to eliminate levels of bureaucracy. Garcia believes the Food and Drug Administration can be folded into the Department of Agriculture, for example.
• He’s wary of socialism because one gets what one pays for. If the government wants to take over health care or education, he said, whatever it does will be mass-produced and of lower quality.
“We see that in countries where they have socialized medicine that becomes either exorbitantly expensive and the economy fails because of it, or the health care is below standard and society suffers a result of that,” he said.
Garcia hopes other people will answer the call to serve in their own way. It could be as simple as registering to vote or volunteering for a candidate. It could mean staying informed about the issues and the candidates. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “an informed society can be trusted with their government.” As Ronald Reagan said, “If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, as Jefferson cautioned, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”