First-generation American citizen Mike Garcia is a highly decorated United States Naval Officer whose record-setting flying performance earned him the honor of becoming one of the first Super Hornet strike fighter pilots in the Navy. He flew over 30 combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom in the skies above Baghdad, Fallujah and Tikrit.
Born in Granada Hills, Garcia is a native of Santa Clarita since his move to Saugus in 1982 with his mom and step-dad (LAPD officer) at the age of 6. Since this young age, Garcia yearned to serve his nation and had his sights set on becoming a Naval Aviator. “At the age of 6, I knew I wanted to fly fighter jets off of aircraft carriers in defense of my country. My decision to run for Congress is a continuation of that desire to serve and a sense of responsibility to serve my country and my district.”
A top graduate of Saugus High School in 1994, Garcia was nominated by Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon to attend the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he graduated in the top 3% of his class. In May of 1998 he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy with orders to attend flight school in Pensacola, Florida.
As an F/A-18 pilot, Garcia was deployed several times on the USS Nimitz, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. He was lauded as an exceptional leader and one of the most naturally talented pilots in the Navy. He saw combat operations during the first six months of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and participated in over 30 combat sorties in the skies above Baghdad, Fallujah and Tikrit.
“My operational service in the Navy was the pinnacle of my career. While my family made great sacrifices, the reward of serving our country and providing for its defense was well worth it,” said Garcia, whose father legally immigrated to the US in 1959.
After accruing over 1,400 hours of operational flight time over the course of nearly 20 years of military service to our country, Garcia decided to separate from the Navy with an honorable discharge and focus on his family. While he continued as a reservist instructor pilot, Garcia moved back to the 27th District in 2009 and began to work for the Raytheon Company.
During his 10 years at Raytheon, Garcia was responsible for the generation of billions of dollars in revenue and the creation of hundreds of jobs for his company and our district.
“The aerospace industry in the 27th District should be commended and supported by our local leadership. This industry brings high-end technology to the warfighter and high-paying jobs to our community. There is nothing more noble than that,” said Garcia.
In addition to his service in the military and his work in the aerospace industry, Garcia has extensive experience running his own small businesses in real estate.
Garcia has seen the world, but after serving honorably, he returned to his hometown, where he now raises his family. But after seeing the threat of Sacramento’s high taxes and job-killing policies spreading to the federal level, Garcia answered the call to serve again, launching his 2020 campaign for Congress.
“I have the choice to stand on the sidelines and see what happens, but that is not in my DNA. This is an extension of my desire to serve, this time to fight for my district. We need to be aggressive this time,” he said as he kicked off his first ever bid for office in April 2019.
Garcia’s message of lower taxes, job growth and term limits for career politicians clearly resonated with local voters, and he was elected to Congress in a May 2020 Special Election, becoming the first California Republican to flip a Democrat seat since 1998. He then went on to win a full term in the November General Election.
Immediately following his May victory, Garcia focused on serving the folks of his district, setting up three district offices and working to resolve hundreds of backlogged constituent cases.
In his short time in Washington, he has also proven his commitment to the issues that matter to local voters. He co-sponsored a bill to preempt a federal version of California’s job-killing AB5, led the effort to create an NOAA program to improve the efficiency and accuracy of wildfire detection and notification, and introduced a bill to eliminate the SALT deduction cap that unfairly punishes Californians for their zip code.
Garcia was also appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, where he plans to use his military and business experience to make sure the taxpayer dollars of hardworking Americans are spent effectively and responsibly. Garcia is the husband to Rebecca Garcia, the owner of the Rebecca Rollins Interiors in Santa Clarita, and the father of Preston (age 15) and Jett (age 5).