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Long Beach's new mayor makes history by being young, Hispanic and gay

Robert Garcia achieves a trio of historic firsts in California city election
Long Beach Mayor Robert_Garcia
Photo courtesy of Robert Garcia via Facebook

Robert Garcia made all kinds of history when he was elected mayor of Long Beach, California on Tuesday (3 June).

At 36, he's the youngest mayor ever and he's the first Hispanic elected to the city's top job.

Garcia is also the first openly gay mayor in the coastal city just south of Los Angeles. He had the high-profile endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

'Thank you, Long Beach!' Garcia wrote on his Twitter page on Wednesday morning.

Currently the city's vice mayor, Garcia edged real estate investor and former NFL player Damon Dunn to win office. They had emerged from a 10-candidate field whittled down to a two-person runoff  after a primary election in April.

Of the historic nature of his win, Garcia told NBC Los Angeles: 'I think you run, not necessarily to be the first, I know that there are certainly historical implications of my election. I’m in this to be mayor of everyone, no matter the age or the color of their skin or who they love.'

He has not shied away from taking the lead on issues impacting the LGBTI community.

Garcia authored the Equal Benefits Ordinance, which was passed in 2009. It ensures that vendors the city does business with provide the same benefits to same-sex partners as they would to heterosexual married couples.

Garcia has also worked to have a park in Downtown Long Beach to be named after Harvey Milk—the first park in the U.S. honoring the slain politician who became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Last year, the Council adopted the city’s first anti-bullying policy that Garcia sponsored. The policy addresses guidelines for employees and sets up a process to identify and support kids who are being bullied.

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