I first collaborated with Franklin Garcia in the early 2000's during a community exercise envisioned to create a game plan, a road map for where the Latino community could progress and become more empowered and powerful in the District. A group of us led by veteran community leaders such as Angel Irene, Alberto Gomez, Jose and Sonia Gutierrez and the scholarly Enrique Rivera, created a document entitled; "DC Latino Agenda", out of the process.
During that time Franklin was the glue that held us together. We met Saturdays at what was then EOFULA (Vida Center today). Franklin called us to order, organized the documents and later would request government officials visit to discuss our research. I remember Dan Tangerlini showed up one Saturday morning when he became City Administrator, as did the head of the Housing Authority, Councilman Graham and various agency heads. At the time Franklin also created the DC Latino Caucus. He was quite active even then.
Subsequently, he went on to work with the DC Democratic State Committee. He became their Communications Director at one point and worked closely with Chairperson Anita Bonds, David Meadows, Phil Pannell and other Democratic Party activists. He ran successfully for the DC DSC on various occasions and was responsible for numerous initiatives including a modern newsletter and wide distribution of videotaped hearings and meetings.
Franklin made himself central and indispensable to the local party leadership and became a political figure himself. He first ran District wide for public office approximately 5 years ago. He won the election for Shadow U.S. Representative with over 110,00 votes. In fact, he has won the position in 2 subsequent elections ever since. Even running unopposed or with limited opposition, this is no easy feat. It means that over the last 3 elections more than 350 thousand voters have pulled a lever or punched a card with Mr. Garcia's name on it. If he can translate that into votes in a Council run he's golden. Franklin would have to win somewhere above 60,000 votes to win the At-Large Council seat. He's running for the seat now held by David Grosso who is retiring. This is the one seat on the Council reserved for non-Democrats. Garcia will have to resign from the Democratic party to run. Franklin is a master about town. Rarely a night goes by when he is not at some civic meeting or attending a public activity related to statehood politics or District affairs. His life is dedicated to public service. He carries a miniature DC flag in his pocket wherever he goes. When he takes a picture or appears in a video, he pulls it out of his pocket and waves it at the camera. He is not only active, but knowledgeable. He can gauge his audience instinctively and deliver excellent remarks no matter what the scenario, who is in the audience or where he is in town. He's a master at the public arts. He also has integrity wrapped in a cautious, measured attitude. He's an honorable man of his word.
Franklin straddles both the Latinx as well as the African American community. He is likeable, knowledgeable and helpful. For this article we took a photograph at Franklin's recent holiday celebration at his home. In attendance were Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Phil Mendelsohn, Shadow Sen. Brown, Silvia Martinez from the DNC, diplomats, professors and videographers, residents young and old from the African American, Latino and white communities, a broad cross section of this town.
No one in our memory has been this engaged, this prepared and this ready to accede to a position of authority and power on the DC Council and in the life of the District as Franklin Garcia. We wish him well and promise to support him throughout. As they say in the movies; 'May the force be with you!!"