I am Monica Garcia and I am running for Los Angeles City Council, District 14. I have been honored to represent families and communities on the school board for over 13 years and to serve as president eight (8) times. After graduating from UC Berkeley, I returned home committed to be a warrior for people. Regardless of the challenge, I knew nothing would stop me from reaching and stretching beyond my reality, and I want to tell you why.
If the journey of my parents from Mexico to Boyle Heights taught me anything, it is to never let anything stop me from both pursuing my dreams and standing up for what is right. My Mother Guillermina was raised by her two aunts after my grandmother died. I will forever be grateful to my tias who risked everything and all their savings to bring my mother to the US for a better life. My father came as a young boy after his own father settled in Boyle Heights after years of working in the fields and construction.
My parents met at Stevenson Junior High School. My family has had deep roots in the Eastside for three generations. This is where I grew up, was educated and have dedicated most of my life. As a teenager, I was an avid learner and pioneer. I ran for and won in student government. I volunteered to register voters on the weekends and attended as many leadership activities as I could. One of my fondest memories was nagging my mother all week to take me to Youth Day ’81 at City Hall where I met Mayor Tom Bradley.
I initially struggled at UC Berkeley, but I was determined to not let myself and my family down. I did better, got involved in leadership and activism and that experience changed my life. My passion for public service grew by giving back, doing for others what my family and community had done for me.
That passion brought me to the Board of Education. Making change at the largest school district in America with an elected school board has been a huge reward and huge challenge. The rewards come in seeing our now record high graduation rates, our growing academic outcomes, attendance, and college acceptance rates. I am inspired by our ability to pass $27 billion in bonds to create 180,000 new seats for students and 320,000 jobs for Angelinos!
Along the way, we were the first LA government body to establish a $15 minimum wage, we led on social justice reforms including restorative justice and we became the greenest school district in the nation.
It has taken a while, and there is still much more work do, but I am proud that we have demanded and achieved change in our school system. There is a concern that while our students are getting on their pathway to college and career, they face increasing rents and limited affordable housing. They want to continue to live and work in Los Angeles and contribute to our community. I hear our school leaders express concern about the growing numbers of homeless children and families. We must take our bold brand of leadership and community building to LA City Council.
I have always been willing to lead the fight for our families. I am running to become the first woman to be the council member for District 14 and commit to serving out my four-year term. I believe addressing issues of homelessness, housing, public safety and gender and racial equity requires serious, hard work. It is time to bring our “roll up your sleeves, all hands-on deck, lead with love and hard work” brand of change to City Council. Our communities and families deserve to have a voice and representation.
We are excited to hear from residents and voters. Please click to take our survey and give us your thoughts on what are the important issues you would like addressed. For more information on our campaign visit our web page at monicaforlacitycouncil.org.