Local politicians and representatives out of Sacramento joined newly elected Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) in Montebello for her local swearing-in ceremony held last week.
During the ceremony, Garcia, elected to represent the 58th District, spoke about her three top priorities: Helping to elect more women to Congress; increasing math literacy and reminding the community how great they are on a regular basis.
“This community took care of me for 18 years,” Garcia said. “Just like everyone invested in me…it’s time to invest in the community.”
MUSD Superintendent Susan Contreras Smith told EGP she was happy to hear that Garcia has priorities that reflect the community’s needs.
“I’m very impressed that we have a woman that is very dedicated to education,” Contreras-Smith said. “When she mentioned her passion for mathematics, I couldn’t agree more about making certain that our students are competitive in this global economy.”
Speakers at the function included Assembly Speaker John Perez, Assemblyman Anthony Rendon and City of Bell Mayor Ali Saleh, who officiated over the swearing-in ceremony.
Garcia told EGP the local ceremony was a way to thank the community she hopes will continue to work with her.
“I don’t expect to do it alone,” and I expect the community to be with me every step of the way, during the hard work as well as the celebrations, she said.
Several speakers described the assemblywoman as unconventional, someone who always speaks her mind, and acknowledged her work during the campaign to end corruption in the city of Bell.
Bell Gardens resident Martha Cabral told EGP she attended the event to support Garcia who had worked to bring positive changes to the southeast city.
We have common interests “as residents of Bell Gardens and I feel proud to have an assemblywoman who has been a resident of our community,” said Cabral, speaking in Spanish.
Saleh told EGP it meant a lot to be part of the local ceremony and to show his support for Garcia, who was involved in his city and helped with his election.
“A lot of people are not fortunate enough to go out to Sacramento so [residents] have the opportunity to be with her and she gets to be with the community that she advocates for in Sacramento,” Saleh said.
Struggling to hold back tears, Garcia’s mother told EGP she hopes the community continues to embrace her daughter; I know she will be great, Maria Cristina Garcia said in Spanish.
The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey and Norwalk.
Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez told EGP that holding the ceremony at Montebello’s Armenian Cultural Center brought together different groups from the community.
“We couldn’t be more integrated today in this celebration in our community as we are now.”