Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia will be among 17 current and former elected officials delivering the keynote address Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention.
“I’m excited to join some amazing Americans to talk about the future of our country and electing Joe Biden as president,” Garcia said about former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris being nominated to run against President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in November.
“We need to move our country forward,” Garcia said.
During a Monday appearance on ABC7, Garcia said his mother and stepfather — who both died after contracting coronavirus — would be proud of him addressing the nation.
“I know that they’d be proud of an opportunity to talk to the country a little bit about the future of our country and why it’s so important that we keep people safe …” he said. “It’s an honor to do that with great people and obviously a proud moment to represent my state as well.”
The 42-year-old Peruvian-American will deliver the keynote along with other current and former Democratic elected officials, including former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams, Nevada state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb and Texas Rep. Colin Allred. The keynote is scheduled to begin at roughly 6 p.m. California time.
Garcia, who was elected mayor in 2014, was the first openly gay person to be elected to that office in Long Beach. No openly LGBTQ person has delivered a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention before, and he says this is now a historic week for the LGBTQ community.
Two other LGBTQ individuals are also among the keynote speakers — Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Georgia state Rep. Sam Park.
Having multiple speakers deliver Tuesday’s keynote address is a departure from traditional convention norms.
“These young electeds will offer a diversity of different ideas and perspectives on how to move America forward, but they will all speak to the future we’re building together — a future with Joe Biden at the helm,” according to a statement released by the Democratic Party.
Garcia told ABC7 the multiple-speaker address will be “a unique and very different kind of keynote” that he thinks “will resonate with a lot of people.” The convention itself, too, conducted remotely due to the pandemic, is an unusual format Garcia said may be more engaging.
“People are going to interact with the convention different than they ever have. It’s more accessible. It’s not just about watching it on TV …” he said. “I think it is going to change conventions forever.”
The Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee started Monday and will take place over four nights, but delegates and speakers will not be traveling to Wisconsin due to the coronavirus.
Garcia has not shared from where in Long Beach he plans to give his portion of the keynote speech.
Although Garcia is the only California participant in Tuesday’s convention schedule, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to play a large role in the overall event, thanks to his position as national co-chair of Biden’s campaign.
Garcetti said one of his roles will be a conversation with a Los Angeles business owner who was affected by COVID-19, highlighting plans by the Biden-Harris ticket to guide the country out of the pandemic.
Officials with Garcetti’s campaign office said the mayor may make an appearance on the livestream Wednesday night, but that has not been officially announced.
Garcetti is scheduled participate in events organized by the Biden-Harris campaign, Democratic Mayors, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Foreign Policy for America, in addition to events of the Democratic Party’s Hispanic Caucus, Jewish Council and the delegations from Arizona, Alaska, California, Delaware, Florida, Kansas and Kentucky.
Garcetti said he will also do a series of media appearances in Spanish and English.
“I’ve known Kamala for years, and she has always worked with us to move our city forward, both as attorney general and as a senator — and Tuesday, she calls Los Angeles home,” Garcetti said.
“Joe came to L.A. and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me to make us the first big city in America to enact a $15 minimum wage. We worked together to bring leaders from all over the world to L.A. to forge the most sweeping climate agreement prior to the Paris Accords, and he stepped up to help our city host the Olympics. Imagine how we can move our city forward with true partners in the White House.”
More information about the convention and livestream can be found at demconvention.com.