Long Beach, California, Mayor Robert Garcia revealed why he switched to the Democratic Party during an interview with "GMA3: What You Need To Know" Thursday, citing his lack of political knowledge as a young adult.
"I was in my 20s and honestly, didn't know much about politics," Garcia told ABC News correspondent Eva Pilgrim. "My family and I immigrated to the U.S. when I was five years old … as a gay person and as immigrants as Latinos, we realized that [the Republican Party] wasn't a place that we felt welcome, and so we switched."
Garcia, Long Beach's youngest, first Latino and first openly gay mayor, explained why he feels "proud of this party," using his heritage and background as an example of the inclusive messaging Democrats have pushed for throughout the party's national convention this week.
"Been a Democrat for a long time," Garcia said. "Proud of where we're going to a place that supports LGBTQ people like myself. A place that supports immigrants across the country, and we're excited to get Joe Biden and Kamala Harris elected."
The Southern California mayor was selected as one of 17 "rising stars" to deliver the Democratic National Convention's keynote address Tuesday where he slammed the Trump Administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We're facing the biggest economic and health crisis in generations, because our president didn't and still doesn't have a plan," Garcia said.
When asked what needs to be done to unite the country, Garcia said he believes "it's possible" if the Democratic ticket wins the White House this election cycle.
"Joe Biden is well-regarded by everyone," Garcia said. "Democrats, Republicans, folks that know him. He is a kind person and it's a huge contrast to what we currently have in the White House. You have someone right now that just demonizes people, demonizes immigrants, rolls back protections for LGBTQ-plus people. We need to treat people as human beings and as a community"
Garcia also reflected on the loss of his mother and stepfather to COVID-19, calling the deadly disease a "very serious virus" that "still effects families every single day."