In Memoriam: Fairfield City Council Member Matt Garcia
Eva Spiegel is communications director for the League and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairfield City Council Member Matt Garcia was shot on Sept. 1, 2008. He was declared brain-dead at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek after the shooting and died after being taken off life support on Sept. 4, 2008.
Elected in November 2007 at just 21 years old, Garcia was among the state’s youngest council members. The Fairfield leader set his course in the sixth grade when he decided that he wanted to be mayor someday.
I interviewed Garcia in June 2008 for an article titled "Challenges for the Next Generation of Leaders," which appeared in the September 2008 issue of Western City (online at www.westerncity.com). During our conversation, Garcia spoke passionately about public service.
Committed to making Fairfield a better place to live for everyone, especially younger residents, Garcia campaigned on a platform that included creating more resources for youth. He believed that by bringing more economic development and better paying jobs to his city, young people would have positive opportunities and be less likely to turn to crime.
In addition to serving the public as a council member, Garcia attended Solano Community College, where he studied political science, and worked for HRA Engineering and Energy Services.
When interviewed for Western City’s April 2008 "On the Record" column about community services that have a major impact on improving the quality of life for residents, he responded, "Youth programs are our main focus. We work with youth organizations to provide mentors, and our after-school programs give young people something fun and constructive to do."
Garcia believed it was time for his generation to acknowledge its responsibilities. "In the next five to 10 years we have to step up to the plate. We are the future leaders. If you have a passion to do what is right for your community, really use your voice and energy to do wonderful things," he said.
On Sept. 2, Fairfield Mayor Harry Price posthumously named Garcia the city’s honorary mayor in recognition of his
Losing a colleague is never easy. In Matt Garcia’s case, the loss is particularly poignant because his youthful energy, cheerful determination and the tremendous promise he showed as a leader in his community were tragically cut short. He will be greatly missed.