Lebanon Times Magazine Team sits down with Houston native, who has retired from his Sheriff uniform for his civilian uniform. Adrian Garcia is not new to public service and the protection of the Houstonians. Before making the decision to run for Mayor, Adrian Garcia worked to protect the Houstonians as police officer for 23 years. Afterwards he served as director of anti-gang in Houston, as member of city council as chair of the Public Safety and Homeland committee, and as chair of the minority women business enterprise, to name a few. Adrian Garcia accomplishes his goals with three principles in mind: honesty, public service, and hard work. To further learn about Adrian Garcia’s accomplishments to protect Houston and its people, Lebanon Times’ Team Nabil Habbaki, Julia Nader, Saleem Abu Jaude, and Hanadi Beidas, sat down in Adrian Garcia’s office to get some more insight on his “One Houston” themed campaign. As Sheriff of one of the largest Sheriff offices in Texas, and third largest in the nation, Adrian hopes to continue his slogan “One Houston,” to ensure equal protection to all neighborhoods in Houston as Mayor of the city. Adrian Garcia says, “I want to think about our city as One Houston that means we are in it together. One Houston is our Houston.”
LT :Thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet with you.
LT: Let us start by asking you about the sheriff uniforms that you wore all those years. Are they still in your closet or did you return them?
Garcia: I had to give them back. I kept my hat but I had to give the uniform back because it was the county department’s equipment so I had to give it all back; my holster, my patches, and my car.
LT: You have been in the Sheriff’s department for so many years dealing with security and the safety of your people. From your experience, what is more powerful: security or politics?
Garcia : Security. In government the first role for the people is protection but you must have good leadership in government to make sure that safety and protection is prioritized I think if you look at it from that point of view. Being the Mayor allows me to do many things that I care about. It allows me to provide public safety; it allows me to strengthen the economy and allows me to improve the infrastructure. People are working people are prosperous and employment destiny people are doing well and I believe that contributes to public safety as well. For our infrastructure we need good roads, give police cars, ambulances and fire trucks where they need to get to. We need to make sure that works as well so I believe that public safety has many evolution to do it and as a mayor I am looking forward to working on each one of those.
LT: You are running for the office of Mayor of Houston along with seven candidates. How would you distinguish yourself from the other candidates?
Garcia: Well I’m not running against anyone I am running for the people of Houston and so my focus is simply demonstrated to the citizens that I have been working with for 35 years. I have served them as a Houston police officer, I have served them as a Director of the City of anti gang task force, I served them as a member of city council, as the chair of the Public Safety and Homeland Security committee, and finally as a chair of the Minority Women Business Enterprise Committee and as vice chair of fiscal affairs and the vice chair of drainage and flooding as Mayor Pro-Tempore and then I served as a Sheriff of Harris County, the largest Sheriff office in Texas and the third largest in the United States. I managed nearly 5 thousand employees and with an operating budget of almost a half-billion dollars and I have been discipline by saving the tax payers over 200 million dollars and so I believe that these issues, or this experience rather, makes me the most uniquely qualified candidate in this race. But I want to be clarify that I’m not running against any candidates. I’m running for the citizens of Houston. That what I’ve always done and I believe that’s why I am always successful because I want to serve you and I want to work for you to make every neighborhood circumstance better. It’s why I picked the theme “One Houston” because I want to make sure that not one neighborhood and no community is left behind or not served or served well or not respected so I was very thoughtful about how I wanted to communicate my candidacy. My candidacy is very simple. I want to work for everyone in Houston. I want them all to do well. I want them to be able to trust and be well served by city hall and you do not do that if you are spending time thinking about individuals. I want to think about our city as one Houston. That means we are in it together, one Houston is our Houston.
Lt: What is the likelihood of the percentage of the vote you will get in the November election?
Garcia: [laughs] 100%. I think if you put a good platform in front of the people and when people know the candidates and when people have seen the success of your previous work, and also when people are already giving you permission to serve, then I think it makes the likelihood of this candidacy more successful.
LT: As a final word, what would you tell the Arabic community in Houston about Mayor Garcia?
Garcia: I would say, going back to the theme of my campaign “one Houston,” Houston is one of the most culturally diverse cities in America. We speak over a hundred languages, one of those is Arabic, and I believe that everyone came to Houston simply to work hard and do well for their families. As the Mayor of Houston, I’ll make sure that no matter where you come from, no matter what language you speak, no matter what delicious food you make, we want you to feel welcomed in Houston and we want your business to do well. We want you to be able to open your doors and quickly succeed. I want you to know that Mayor Garcia will be the Mayor for One Houston. Specifically to the Arab community, I would say I would ensure public safety and that everyone in our community is not only respected but also well served and well protected.
LT: What role is your wife Monica playing in your campaign?
Garcia: She is my number one cheerleader. She’s been an incredible partner, she’s been there for all my days, from when I launched my campaign to become a city council member, and to when I launched my campaign to become a sheriff, and she is continuing to do so in my campaign to become mayor. She is an adviser, counselor, master friend and is enjoying her role as wife.