Biden visit

Mayor Robert Garcia makes a point Thursday to former Vice President Joe Biden while Port of Long Beach executive director Mario Cordero listens. The presidential candidate toured the under-construction replacement bridge for the Gerald Desmond Bridge.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia will help deliver the Democratic National Convention’s virtual keynote speech on Tuesday, Aug. 18, with 16 others who represent the “next generation of party leaders,” officials announced.

The Democratic National Convention announced on Sunday, Aug. 16, that Garcia would take the stage alongside the likes of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams and U.S Reps. Colin Allred of Texas and Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania to give the convention’s day two headlining address.

Garcia is one of two mayors among the 17 set to deliver the address and the only California representative.

“I’m excited to join some amazing Americans to talk about the future of our country and electing Joe Biden as President,” Garcia said in a statement Sunday. “We need to move our country forward and it’s going to take young people to mobilize across the country to fight for healthcare, racial justice and civil rights for all.”

Garcia, first elected in 2014, is Long Beach’s first openly gay and first Latino mayor, leading a city of more than 450,000.

Garcia campaigned for current vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris last year, when she was vying for the top of the ticket. The mayor has since endorsed Biden.

While Long Beach began 2020 on a high note, with a strong economy and booming downtown development, the city — like the rest of the country — came to a halt in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, Garcia has focused his leadership on guiding the city through the crisis, both as the face of Long Beach’s coronavirus response and as its mourner-in-chief. Long Beach has so far reported 190 coronavirus-related deaths.

The latter role took a personal turn in recent weeks, with both Garcia’s mother and stepfather dying from coronavirus-complications.

Still, he has remained involved in the city’s response to the pandemic.

“When I signed on as mayor,” he said recently, “I signed on for the good times and the hard times.”

The DNC, in its announcement Sunday, said the 17 politicians who will deliver the Tuesday keynote represent an array of diverse ideas “and perspectives on how to move America forward.” But primarily, the announcement added, they will come together to stand behind Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

Biden will face President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election.

“The convention keynote has always been the bellwether for the future of our party and our nation,” Joe Solmonese, CEO of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, said in a statement, “and when Americans tune in next week they’ll find the smart, steady leadership we need to meet this critical moment.”

Besides Garcia, Abrams, Allred and Boyle, the others who will help deliver the keynote address are:

Tennessee state Sen. Raumesh Akbari;

Nevada state Sen. Yvanna Cancela;

Former Ohio state Rep. Kathleen Clyde;

Nikki Fried, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture;

Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta;

South Carolina state Sen. Marlon Kimpson;

Michigan state Rep. Mari Manoogian;

Nevada state Rep. Victoria Neave;

Jonathan Nez, president of Navajo Nation;

New Hampshire state Rep. Denny Ruprecht; and

Birmingham, Alabama, Mayor Randall Woodfin.

The theme of the speech will be “Leadership Matters,” the DNC’s announcement said.

“Amidst all of the chaos and crises our nation is facing,” Solmonese said, “Democrats are focused on finding new and innovative ways to engage more Americans than ever before.”

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