Mike Garcia, a former Navy pilot and defense industry player, was sworn in as the new representative of California’s 25th district in a May 19 ceremony on Capitol Hill.
Garcia, a Republican, was elected to the House in a special election May 12 to replace former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill who resigned late last year after being elected in 2018. He defeated his Democratic challenger, State Assemblywoman Christy Smith, with 54 percent of votes.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held a ceremonial swearing-in at the Capitol Tuesday for Garcia and his fellow new lawmaker Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.). Tiffany replaced Republican Sean Duffy as the WI-07 representative, after the latter resigned in 2019.
A former Naval officer, Garcia was commissioned in 1998 after graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and subsequently attended flight school in Pensacola, Florida. He deployed as an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot on the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and flew over 30 combat sorties during Operation Iraqi Freedom. After separating from the Navy, he joined Raytheon [RTX] in 2009 as a business development executive.
Garcia received over $23,000 in 2020 campaign funds from donors involved in the defense sector, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Over $22,000 of that amount came from Raytheon-linked donors.
As a military veteran and former defense contractor, Garcia is widely expected to join the House Armed Services Committee. His predecessor Hill served on the committee until her resignation, and the 25th district includes Edwards AFB and multiple industry facilities, including Raytheon. House leadership did not comment on whether Garcia would indeed join the committee as of Defense Daily’s deadline Tuesday.