I’ve been called a lot of things in my life: Midshipman, Lieutenant Commander, Naval Aviator, son, father, husband and daddy.

“Candidate” was one title I didn’t see coming. Though being a candidate for Congress has been an honor, it was a title I did not seek until I saw the outcome of the 2018 election.

First, let me make a quick point: I like being called a candidate, but I am not a politician. I’m quick to correct people when they say I’m a politician because to me, a politician is someone who is in politics for the wrong reasons: pride, ego, power or as a career. It is these very career politicians who continue to let us down in Sacramento and Washington as we contend with this pandemic. I’m not a career politician, and I never will be. That’s why I support term limits to get rid of them on both sides of the aisle. I’m proud to be an outsider and former fighter pilot who knows how to get the job done.

I personally don’t believe that service to your country ever ends. I took an oath at the Naval Academy when I was 18 years old to support and defend the Constitution, and that oath doesn’t come off when I take the uniform off. While I had a great life with my family and was living the American Dream, I felt compelled to come off the sidelines to once again answer the call to serve my nation and work to remedy some of the problems that I saw we were facing.

After months of intense research, soul searching and deep prayer, I was confident that a message of job growth and low taxes from a qualified combat veteran who had led in a variety of roles in the private sector would resonate in this district. I firmly believed (and still do), that I represent the values of this great district, and on April 10, 2019, we launched our campaign. My goal was to come out hard and fast and to continue to accelerate over the course of the following 18 months, and we have been executing that plan the whole way.

For the last year and a half, I’ve been focused on running a grassroots campaign and surrounding myself with teammates and supporters who are also in this race for the right reasons. Our only goal is to protect our district and our nation. My team is comprised of true patriots, and we have more than 500 volunteers and 70,000 grassroots donors now, many of whom have never been involved in a campaign before. This had been my biggest accomplishment as a candidate. My team is first-class and unmatched.

And on May 12, Team Garcia showed the nation that Californians are tired of Sacramento’s liberal policies of high taxes, jobs-killing laws like AB5 and defunding local law enforcement. I was honored to be the first Republican to flip a California seat from blue to red since 1998 after winning the special election by nearly 10 points. And since May 19, I have been proud to represent the more than 700,000 residents of this great district.

But in my short time in Washington, I’ve seen the partisanship and the gridlock. It has been incredibly frustrating as an outsider coming in and seeing the career politicians prioritizing their loyalty to party over their responsibility to their districts.

Since the moment I was elected, my focus has been on working to improve the lives of the folks in the 25th, and I was proud to assemble a great team that shares my commitment to this district. We set up field offices across the district shortly after I was sworn in, and we’ve helped over 500 constituents with backlogged casework after months without a Representative in Congress.

I worked to prepare for fire season, helping to launch a new NOAA program for wildfire prediction, and was proud to co-sponsor a bill to protect American workers and prevent the spread of job-killing laws like AB5 to Washington. I’ve also committed to supporting local non-profits who have been struggling these past few months with personal donations to organizations across the district supporting law enforcement officers, veterans, and local seniors and families in need.

I am also proud of our efforts to reach out to constituents, including a virtual town hall with over 7,000 attendees just a few weeks after taking office. You may not always agree with my position on issues, but I will always provide my rationale and the facts and data that support my position. I think most Americans just want someone with a spine. We will all disagree on things, but we should be led by people who are willing to have meaningful debates on issues. I respect those who do, and I believe most Americans do too.

This race has seen dozens of candidates, a special election and a global pandemic, but through it all, our message has remained the same. The importance of lower taxes for California families, stopping the spread of jobs-killing laws like AB5 and supporting the law enforcement officers who keep our communities safe has never been more evident than it is today. And I am still committed to never allowing my country to become as dysfunctional as my state has become.

The pictures below will tell the story better than my words here…but it’s been an incredible journey and I look forward to earning the opportunity to continue to represent you in Congress!

*All photos where COVID precautions (masking/social distancing) are not observed were taken prior to March 2020