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Robert Garcia to be sworn in as Long Beach's 28th mayor

Robert Garcia to be sworn in as Long Beach's 28th mayor
State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris to swear in Robert Garcia as Long Beach mayor
Inaugural ceremony to be held in Long Beach for newly elected officials, including Mayor-elect Robert Garcia

Robert Garcia was scheduled to be sworn in Tuesday evening as Long Beach's 28th mayor.

Garcia, 36, is the youngest and first openly gay and Latino mayor of this booming port city of more than 400,000 residents. He will be sworn in by state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris.

Additionally, several other newly elected officials will be installed at the free public event, which is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. at the Terrace Theatre at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. 

A celebration and reception event hosted by the Children Today, a nonprofit group, will follow the swearing-in ceremony. Proceeds of that event will go to the organization and its programs. 

Garcia was elected mayor after narrowly defeating real estate investor Damon Dunn in a June 3 runoff election.

Born in Lima, Peru, Garcia immigrated to the United States at age 5 with his family. He grew up in Covina and became the first person in his family to attend and graduate from college.

In 2007, he founded the Long Beach Post, an online news website. Two years later, Garcia was elected to the Long Beach City Council. 

The inaugural ceremony Tuesday comes hours after Garcia and several newly elected officials were blessed by the interfaith clergy of Long Beach. 

The morning ceremony included spiritual music and invocations, such as a Navajo blessing. Among the spiritual leaders attending was the Rev. Leon Wood, founder of the North Long Beach Community Prayer Center. 

Wood led a prayer as the officials stood with their heads bowed and held each other's hands.

"Times will be rough, times will hard, but Father, with you as their guide and you as their leader, with love in their hearts, all things can be done," Wood said. "Bless this day, bless our leadership; keep them connected and bless our city."

Speaking to reporters after the event, Garcia said he is eager to begin his duties. He said his first week will include budget recommendations, appointing council members to committees and making his first speech at his alma mater, Cal State Long Beach. 

"I'm really excited to be mayor a city I love so much," he said. 

For more So Cal news, follow @LATVives. 

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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