Mike Garcia, a former naval fighter pilot and Santa Clarita businessman, announced his candidacy for Congress against Congresswoman Katie Hill for the 25th Congressional District Wednesday.

Garcia, a first-generation American citizen, is a highly decorated United States Naval Officer who was  one of the first F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighter pilots in the Navy. He flew over 30 combat missions during Operation Iraqi freedom over Baghdad, Fallujah, and Tikrit, according to officials.

“I have been at the edge where bullets fly and lives are lost,” Garcia said. “I believe America is the greatest country in the world. I’ve seen men and women lose their lives defending this country.”

Garcia graduated in the top three percent of his Annapolis class, receiving an M.A. in National Security Studies at Georgetown University.

His performance during Advanced Jet Pilot Training in the T-45 jet set records and earned him the opportunity to become of the first F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighter pilots in the Navy, according to officials.

As an F/A-18E pilot Garcia was deployed several times on the USS Nimitz, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. He was lauded as one of the best leaders and one of the most naturally talented pilots in the Navy by his troops, his peers and his leadership, Garcia said.

Now, he is hoping to face Katie Hill in 2020 for the CA-25 Congressional seat, which includes the cities of Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Palmdale, Lancaster, and the northern part of the San Fernando Valley.

“I am disgusted that politicians in Washington are voting in lockstep with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to push a Socialist agenda that jeopardizes everything we’ve risked blood and treasure to defend,” Garcia said.

Former Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon endorsed Garcia for Congress.

“I’ve known Mike for 25 years,” McKeon said. “It was my honor to nominate him for the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1994. He served our country on the battlefield and he’ll serve us again in Congress.”

Having represented the area for over two decades, former Congressman Elton Gallegly has also endorsed Mike Garcia for the 25th district.

“After careful review I feel that Mike Garcia is the best prepared candidate,” Gallegly said. “He is a fighter and a leader with a life experience that will serve the 25th Congressional district at a critical time in the history of our nation.”

Garcia is a native of Santa Clarita since 1983. His father legally immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in 1959. He is the husband to Rebecca Garcia, and the father of Preston, 12 and Jett, 2.

Ed. Note: Garcia is set to sit down with KHTS Wednesday afternoon. Stay tuned to hometown station.com for the full interview and story.

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