Mayor Robert Garcia has been a statewide leader in the fight against COVID-19. Under the mayor’s leadership, the city has established a testing capacity of more than 1,900 per day, twice the state requirement. Mayor Garcia established a robust contract tracing program, and brought together health experts to implement science based COVID-19 protocols. Earlier this year, the mayor launched the Long Beach Black Infant Health Program which aims to address the poor birth outcomes affecting African American mothers and their infants. Additionally, the Mayor has worked to lower sexually transmitted disease infection rates, and has implemented plans that would significantly reduce infections including HIV citywide. Mayor Garcia is also a supporter of Medicare for All and is the co-chair of Mayors 4 Medicare.
As an educator, Mayor Garcia has made access to quality public education a priority. Mayor Garcia signed the College Promise agreement to expand pre-K, double internships and increase college access. Additionally, the Vision to Learn partnership the mayor established with Long Beach Unified helped more than 8,000 children access free eye-care. Mayor Garcia also launched the Mayor's Internship Challenge, which has created more than 3,000 internships citywide. Under his leadership, the City of Long Beach and the Mayor’s Fund for Education have created the Early Childhood Education Strategic Plan.
Mayor Garcia believes that housing is a human right and understands the seriousness of the housing and homelessness crisis impacting Long Beach and the nation. Mayor Garcia has worked to build over 10,000 new housing units across the city, including numerous affordable housing developments. He has been proactive in preventing and decreasing the number of people experiencing homelessness in Long Beach through implementing affordable and inclusionary housing policies, increasing zoning to build new housing, and implementing new transitional housing initiatives. He has also prioritized decreasing homelessness among veterans, and in 2016 was recognized by the Obama Administration as a model program for cities. Additionally in 2018 Mayor Garcia launched the Everyone Home Long Beach Taskforce, a strategic work group and planning document to assist people experiencing homelessness.
Mayor Garcia strongly believes in building an economy that supports and works for everyone. In 2016, Mayor Garcia led Long Beach in raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, ahead of the state. The mayor has also prioritized attracting new businesses to Long Beach, including the growing space economy. The city is one of the largest satellite space eco-systems in the United States. Mayor Garcia implemented the first citywide Project Labor Agreement (PLA) in the state to promote opportunities for local-hire on capital construction projects. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Garcia created a historic economic relief package that ensures workers have access to paid sick time, and small businesses have access to loans and grants. Mayor Garcia also strongly supported the unionization of cannabis and hotel workers, the organization of dock and port laborers, and has fought against attempts in the city to contract city union work.
Mayor Garcia leads the nation’s second largest container port: the Port of Long Beach. During his tenure, he has worked to make the Port of Long Beach America's most sustainable seaport, and has traveled the world to establish trade relationships with multinational companies and trading partners. This includes trade missions to Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Chile, Denmark, Peru, Switzerland and Germany. He has also visited Peru and Honduras in partnership with the State Department on missions to expand LGBTQ+ rights worldwide. The mayor has also visited both Israel and the West Bank on an educational mission with the Jewish Federation.
Mayor Robert Garcia spearheaded the passage of Measure A, the largest infrastructure investment plan in a generation. Since its passage, it has rebuilt streets and sidewalks, parks, libraries, and water infrastructure. Mayor Garcia spearheaded investments in the city's light rail system and has been an advocate of complete streets and multi-model transit. Additionally, the mayor oversaw a complete rebuild of the Port of Long Beach and the construction of the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project, the largest bridge project in California.
Long Beach has led the way in working to address the impacts of climate change. Long Beach is home to one of the most sustainable ports in the country through its Clean Air Action Plan. The Mayor has also led efforts to ban polystyrene, plastic straws, and plastic bags -- ahead of the State of California. In 2015, Mayor Garcia signed the Global Covenant of Mayors, a global coalition working to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change. This partnership with the Port of Long Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and many environmental and business leaders. The city has also developed its first-ever Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). Additionally, Mayor Garcia championed the LED Streetlight Retrofit Project, the push to increase Long Beach Transit’s electric zero-emission fleet, and Long Beach’s first ever bikeshare and multi-mobility project.
Long Beach is safer today than it has been in decades. Homicides are at historic lows, and thanks to voters approving Measure A, critical investments have been made in public safety. Fire and paramedic response times have decreased under Mayor Garcia and new technology has been implemented across public safety departments like body worn cameras on all police officers. Mayor Garcia has also taken bold steps to address racial injustices by working with the community and city council to create and implement the Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative. This plan laid out a reform framework not only in public safety but also in public health and education.
Long Beach is one of the most diverse cities in the country and as an immigrant himself, Mayor Robert Garcia values the contributions of the city's diverse community. In 2015, Mayor Garcia led efforts to establish a Justice Fund in the City of Long Beach to provide legal support for families facing deportation, and moved to officially support State Bill SB 54 through the city council, which provided sanctuary protections for undocumented residents. Since taking office, the mayor has also prioritized putting women and residents from historically underrepresented communities in more leadership positions across the city. And for the first time in city history, more women than men serve in leadership commissions and boards. A strong supporter of the LGBT+ community, Mayor Garcia has also strengthened protections for the community including the establishment of trans-inclusive health care coverage. Long Beach has received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign for inclusive cities every year he has served as mayor.