By CBSLA Staff

LONG BEACH (CBSLA) – Democratic Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia is running for Congress, he announced Friday.

FILE — Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia speaking at Long Beach City College on the final day of campaigning for Gov. Gavin Newsom against the recall in Long Beach on Sept. 13, 2021. (Brittany Murray/Long Beach Press-Telegram/Getty Images)

The 44-year-old Garcia will be running for the seat that is being vacated by Rep. Alan Lowenthal, who announced Thursday he is retiring from Congress when his term ends in 2022.

Garcia has served as mayor of Long Beach since 2014. He is the first Latino and openly gay mayor in the city’s history.

Garcia’s mother and stepfather both died of COVID-19 weeks apart in the early months of the pandemic.

Considered a rising star in the Democratic party, Garcia took part in the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in August of 2020.

“My mom brought me to this country and risked everything so that I could become an American,” Garcia said in a video posted to social media. “She came here never doubting that America was a place where her immigrant son could succeed. That’s why today, I am fighting for every kid to get the same shot that this country gave me.”