Robert Garcia will be sworn in with memorabilia and a super

On Tuesday, January 3, a new generation of Latino legislators was to be sworn in. It hasn’t been because House Republicans haven’t been able to elect a president, but that hasn’t stopped the new class of elected officials from creating their own traditions when the time comes.

One of them, California Rep. Robert Garcia, is introducing new traditions into the sacred rituals of Congress by substituting souvenirs for the Christian Bible.

Garcia, instead of the Bible – the ubiquitous item in the oaths of office – will use his certificate of US citizenship, a photo of his late parents and an incredibly rare collectible Superman #1 comic, all of which will go under a Constitution of the United States.

Article VI, Clause 3, of the Constitution clearly states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a requirement for holding public office in the United States,” and the Bible, though common, is not required.

“They will be proudly sworn in in Congress on the Constitution of the United States. Beneath the Constitution will be three articles that mean a lot to me personally,” Garcia, a Peruvian immigrant, wrote on Twitter.

In the summer of 2020, the then-mayor of Long Beach learned that his parents, Gabriella O’Donnell and Gregory O’Donnell, had contracted the coronavirus just months after his office announced the first pandemic-related death in March. .

O’Donnell, a physician’s assistant for 25 years, succumbed to complications in late July, while her stepfather passed away in August, a day after the family held a funeral for Garcia’s mother.

His mother immigrated to the United States from Lima (Peru) when García was five years old.

And like him, “she was a bit of a nerd, like me,” the congressman told the Washington Post.

“He loved going to Comic-Con. He liked reading books about vampires and monsters. And he loved going to the movies. We went to the movies a lot and he especially liked scary movies.”

Garcia’s Certificate of Naturalization issued by the US District Court in Pomona will also rest under the Constitution.

But the object that is perhaps causing the most excitement is a Superman #1 comic -which he obtained from the Library of Congress- first published in 1939 and considered a collector’s item due to its historical importance in the world of comics.

It is valued at $1.5 million and was last auctioned in 2019 for $456,000.

But Garcia, despite making headlines for establishing her own traditions this week, has a history of defying political expectations.

After serving three years in the California State Assembly, he went on to become the first Latino vice mayor in 2012, the youngest in the city’s recorded history.

Then, in 2014, he was elected mayor of Long Beach with a 52% majority during the general election, in a crowded field of 10, and an 80% majority in his 2018 re-election, where he served as the youngest LGBTQ+ mayor. and the first to come out of the closet.

He was the first elected Latino representative to endorse California Governor Gavin Newsom in 2017.

Garcia faced to winds against in 2020 in the wake of the George Floyd protests, when activists called for a removal of the mayor, approved by the city clerk, following reports that he had financial backing from a local police union.

The dismissal did not take place at the start of the presidential election cycle.

This week, Garcia enters his first term as a US Representative from California’s 42nd Congressional District with souvenirs in hand.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article stated that the comic and memorabilia would be on top of the Constitution during the inauguration ceremony. Now they will be under the Constitution. Garcia hasn’t yet been officially sworn into his office either because the Republicans haven’t elected House speaker. Both changes are now reflected in the article.

Robert Garcia will be sworn in with memorabilia and a super-rare Superman comic book under the Constitution