The political culture is shifting in many parts of the country. In Virginia, Democrats are more and more becoming the party of the rich and corporate America. At the same time, Republicans are more embraced by working Americans. On Tuesday evening, I interviewed Eddie Garcia. He’s running in the US Senate GOP primary race to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) in Virginia. Eddie shared his humble beginnings as a hard-working youth and Latino in South Texas, his decorated military career, and why he’s running to represent Virginia in the US Senate.
“We can’t expect our politicians that have gotten us into this mess to be able to think of new ideas to get us out of the mess that we’re in.”
Eddie has a real opportunity to reach conservative voters while also being a voice for center-left independents and disenfranchised Democrats in Virginia. I hope you’ll tune in and watch the video or read the transcript. Below, you can learn more about him on his website and connect with Eddie on his social media channels.
Let’s get to the interview:
Don Purdum: Hey everyone, Don Purdum at the conservative era. I am really excited today to have Eddie Garcia with us. Eddie is a senatorial candidate for the US Senate in Virginia, a great state. A lot of interesting things going on there.
Eddie, I just saw an interesting interview this evening with Governor Youngkin, and boy, was he on message and point tonight talking about reducing taxes and making sure that education is a great thing for all the students in the Commonwealth. You got to be proud of what the governor is doing in Virginia.
Eddie Garcia: Yeah, thanks for having me, Don. And I would tell you that God has blessed the Commonwealth of Virginia with Governor Youngkin. He set a bold strategy from the very beginning and from the time he stepped into the office, and now he’s continuing that in this new legislative session.
So, yeah, conservative principles, he’s pushing hard for it
We need to make sure that Republicans win, hold the House of Delegates this year in 2023, and swing the state Senate into the Republican category. That way, he can continue to execute a conservative agenda
Don Purdum: Well, speaking of yourself, as I said, you’re running for US candidate in the Commonwealth and for US Senate. I mean, excuse me. And you know, I want to kind of start off by talking a little bit about your background.
I think you just have a fantastic story, one that everybody needs to hear because, Eddie, I’ve got to tell you, talking to you and getting to know you, in my view, you’re America, by and by and through and through. It’s just, it’s refreshing to see somebody who spent an entire career serving their country but coming from these humble means, and now here you are positioned as what one group called a “potentially” viable Republican candidate in the Commonwealth
I found that to be refreshing, exciting. I’ll put that in the link where that was, but nonetheless, tell us a little bit about your background and some of the stories that you have that relate to why you’re running for office.
Eddie Garcia: Well, thanks for the kind words, and whoever said, whoever spoke those kind words or wrote them online, God bless them too.
So, my name is Eddie Garcia, and I’m running for the US Senate in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I come originally from South Texas, a small country town down there near the Rio Grande Valley.
And I come from a family with, you know, from low income. I mean, we’re country folk, as we like to say down there where we don’t have much, but we do have is we do have love for each other. We have love for God and for our neighbor, and we love for our country.
I come from a family of service. My great-grandfather fought as infantryman in World War I for the Army. Both of my grandfathers fought in World War II, one in the Army proper, and one in the Army Air Corps at the time. My stepfather, Raul Martinez, fought with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam.
And so I come from a long tradition of service and service to the Army.
When I was 17, I joined the Army Reserves while I was still in high school. I would go to school during the week, and I was doing Army drills on the weekends. A week after I graduated high school, I went off to basic training, came back, and was in the Army Reserves for a little while, from 1999 to 2001
And then September 11th happened, which kind of shocked the whole world. It changed mine too. I felt the call to do a little bit more, and so I went back to the recruiting station. I asked to join the active duty Army.
My stepfather, being an airborne MP, made sure that when I went and talked to the recruiter I was going to go to airborne school. That was my only request. Send me to airborne school and put me in the Army.
And that’s what happened
I spent the next 22 years serving our nation. I never expected to spend two decades in the Army, but that’s what happened. I liked what I was doing, and I felt called to serve. We were doing important things in the Middle East and trying to reshape some of the atrocities that have taken place. During that time, I had the opportunity to be stationed in Germany for quite some time.
While I was stationed in Germany, I met my wife Veronica. She had moved to Germany from Uruguay when she was a child. We met, we fell in love. We had two children over there.
During that time, I deployed six times. I deployed three times to Iraq, three times to Afghanistan. I commanded in the 82nd airborne division, which was a high honor for me. I graduated from Ranger school. So I’m a Ranger-qualified Army officer when I retired.
Most importantly, most relevantly, my last five years (in the Army) were up here in the Pentagon in Virginia, working with the House of Representatives, working with the Senate to pass bills and legislation that protect our veterans, that enhance our military and our national security and support our Gold Star families. So very veteran and armed service-focused legislation.
I had the privilege to put in and actually write some legislation that members of Congress introduced and got passed that helped create some things for Gold Star families and for our active duty force and veterans.
So, I have that experience on the Hill, at least working with the Hill to pass bills, to pass legislation, and kind of understanding the minutiae that one needs if they’re going to go into federal public office.
I also have an education background in public policy. I got a master’s degree from George Washington University in legislative affairs, also focused on the federal legislative process. So my education, my history, my background, and a lot of the experiences that my wife and I have gone through as a military couple, as a naturalized citizen going through that immigration system, growing up near the border, kind of understanding the Rio Grande Valley portion of the border and how difficult of a situation that is to manage all of those things — play into the decision to run for high federal office.
And I think I’m uniquely qualified because of that experience, because of that education. I also believe that I can win, which is honestly the most important thing because you can’t do anything good if you don’t get an office.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, we haven’t won a US Senate race in 21 years. It’s been since 2002 we won a Senate race from the Republican Party.
My argument to my fellow Republicans, part of my pitch, is that if we keep doing the same thing we’ve always done, we’ll keep having the same results we’ve always had.
To get a different output, you need a different input.
I’m that different input.
And so my wife and I, based on the experience, based on what we see in this country, made the decision that the best place for us to be able to serve our nation, to do it well, and to actually win, is to run for high federal office.
And so that’s what we’re doing.
And we’re going to give the people of the Commonwealth a choice, whether they can continue to stay with the failed policies of the past or look to someone new with the bright, bold vision of what the future can be.
And so I say we need someone to think and act and speak and solve problems in 2024 rather than recycle the same old solutions or problem-causing solutions of 1994.
We can’t expect our politicians, that have gotten us into this mess, to be able to think of new ideas to get us out of the mess that we’re in.
We need new people.
We need new leadership.
I plan to be that leadership.
Don Purdum: Well, you know, it’s interesting. Tim Kaine, who just recently announced he is going to run for reelection, he’s been there, what, three terms now? So this is…
Eddie Garcia: He’s on his second term. He’s running for a third term.
Don Purdum: That’s right. He’s on his second term.
Eddie Garcia: Yeah. I would tell you, well before that, I mean, the man’s been in public office since 1994. I mean, down in the board of supervisors in Richmond, the mayor of Richmond and the lieutenant governor or the governor, I mean, he’s a lifelong politician.
He’s not even a career politician.
He’s a lifelong politician.
I don’t think that we Americans or the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia want to be governed by a ruling class that never leaves office, and so what we’re going to do is we’re going to help him leave office.
Don Purdum: Sounds fantastic.
Well, you know, as part of your story and what you’re sharing with me, I’d like you to take a few moments if you would… Conservatism, over the last 40 years, has really evolved. You think about Reagan conservatism, and you think about how much elements of the conservative movement have changed over the years.
It used to be almost exclusively, for the most part, (it was) more of an economic thing, and it’s evolved. From your point of view, how would you define conservatism? What are the things within the conservative movement that are important to you that you’d like to take to Washington, DC, and represent Virginia?
Eddie Garcia: Well, I always say, Don, that I’m a faith and family conservative.
I think if you’re going to be a quote-unquote “conservative,” that has a lot of meaning to a lot of different people. But the way that I view it is that conservatism just means conserving the things that are most valuable to society and most valuable to a population.
So to me, that starts with the family.
So faith and family and raising our children, making sure we have a good education system, conserving the education system, conserving the nuclear family, conserving our environment, conserving the things that matter the most to us.
And the way that we do that is through discipline and restraint, not through out-of-control spending.
We need a focused government.
To me, conservatism is not about large or small more than it is about being focused. If we have to spend money because we have an emergency, well, then we have to spend money because we have an emergency.
If people are dying, if people’s water is not clean, if our transportation system is falling apart, if our infrastructure, if our energy grid, all of these things, if they need to be fixed, well, then we have to be a solutions-oriented party in order to conserve the things that we want to conserve.
And I think somewhere along the lines of Republican, Democrat, left, right, red, blue, dichotomy, it’s taken a different form, a different shape.
But in my opinion, the way I look at being a conservative is conserving those things that matter the most and then solving problems in order to do that.
Don Purdum: Yeah, you know, and along with those lines, Eddie, every day, I encounter and talk with people across the political spectrum. One of the things I’ve noticed is there’s this vast segment of people that are what I would call center-left, not necessarily center-right, but center-left. And they feel like, in many regards, and you see this showing up in the polls, they feel like they’ve lost their home.
Many of them were in the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party has shifted so far to the left that there is an opportunity there to talk to them about these value systems that are important.
I think that in Virginia, Governor Youngkin did a great job of that in the campaign in 2021, really nailing home those issues, especially on education and taxes and things that are important in people’s lives.
So I think you’re really hitting on a very, very important thing there, and I think you have a great opportunity to talk to those center-left people. People that are suburbanites and people that just feel like they don’t have a home, and they’re looking for that one place or that one candidate that can come along and speak to their needs.
In everything I’ve heard from you and interacted with you on and read about you, I really think that you might be the person who can do that, and it could create a complete movement in the state to help those deep red areas that if you were blessed enough to get the primary win, you can cover some of those areas.
So in that vein, if you were to be elected to the US Senate, what difference do you want to make for Virginia?
What are the things you want to take with you policy-wise?
What are the things that are important to you you think you can really make a difference with?
Because you’re only going to be one of 100, and that’s the hardest thing for voters sometimes to get their head around, is we think that our elected officials can go in and just change the world without realizing that you’re one of 100 in this case. While that’s not a large number, you still need, generally speaking, 60 votes to get something passed in the Senate unless it’s a budgetary issue and the filibuster is not involved, but those are generally supposed to be rare.
What do you think are those important issues that you want to fight for when you go to Washington?
Eddie Garcia: That’s a lot of things you asked there. I think I’ll start with the beginning about the opportunity. I think there’s a huge opportunity for Republicans across the Commonwealth of Virginia. I think there’s a huge opportunity for our campaign specifically because the Democrat Party itself, through all the data, is showing that it’s becoming a party of more affluent, culturally progressive party and organizational leadership and big business, big tech, a lot of high finance.
That is becoming more and more of the core Democrat Party.
As that pool gets smaller and smaller, I think the opportunity for Republicans gets larger and larger. If we can develop a policy — economic policy, cultural policy, education policy, environmental policy, all of these things that people in the middle, center left, center right, we care about.
But a lot of times, Republicans have a hard time expressing things that they care about in a way that people want to listen. And also the messaging that they use. I said earlier that we need people that can act and speak and talk to the issues of 2024 like it’s 2024, not 1994. I think that’s part of my pitch to the Republican Party itself during its primary season is that I’m that person younger folks, the Generation X, the Millennials, and even the older generation as well.
Specifically, the voters from 20 to 55, I can speak to them because they’ve grown up in this environment that we have. They’ve lived and worked now for a decade and a half with social media. I believe that we’re able to speak to those issues regarding what we can do or what I would like to focus on when I get in office.
It’s really focusing government down to solving some of the crucial issues that we have across our whole of government. More specifically for individuals, education, and our grid, our transportation systems, and in our water systems. I mean, that kind of flows over infrastructure as well.
I mean, those are the impacts that people feel every day.
When you send your kids to school and that school is not doing well, or your kids not learning, or they’re in an environment that is not conducive to learning, or they’re being over-politicized in the classroom, there’s a whole host of issues that we’ve had to face here or have come to light here in Virginia.
That’s a problem that sits, that doesn’t sit well with a lot of the working class families, whether they’re making $50,000 a year or $150,000 a year.
A lot of people can’t afford private school, they can’t afford charter school. They don’t have time for homeschool because mom and dad are both working.
So, being able to focus our resources and come up with new solutions to maybe neighborhood schooling, maybe vouchers for not only school choice, but also subsidies for homeschooling co-ops. I mean, there’s a lot of ideas that we can use.
Education savings accounts are a big push at the state level here in the Commonwealth this legislative session. There’s a lot of issues or there’s a lot of solutions that we could bring about to help families get better-educated children.
But if we have politicians that just wanna argue and raise money off of the issues, well, then we’re never gonna get anywhere.
And the same goes for our infrastructure, our transportation.
I mean, look at our supply chain.
The Department of Transportation and the leaders of the Department of Transportation have failed us miserably over the last two and a half years. The supply chain crisis, the pork crisis, the airlines crisis, the Amtrak train crisis.
It’s just one problem after another.
And that affects all the prices for all the goods. It affects our food, our food prices. The inflation is at 40-year highs.
We need to refocus our government.
We need to refocus our resources, especially in the transportation and energy fields to rebuild some of these key infrastructure pieces to everyday life.
If we don’t, it’s only gonna get worse. The cost of living for every man, woman and child across the Commonwealth, across America, it’s just gonna continue to rise. When we have record highs in food, water, and shelter, we have problems because those are the three things you need to live.
You need food, water, and shelter.
And all three of those are super sky-high right now.
The first thing I do when I get into office is try to address these issues. You do that by trying to find a coalition of people that also are serious about policymaking, serious about passing good legislation, and focusing government.
There’s plenty of politicians on the left and on the right that have no interest in actually governing. They like to be on TV, they like to talk, they like to raise money. That’s how they do their job.
I’m not one of those people.
I don’t wanna be a showhorse. I wanna be a workhorse.
I wanna work for the people of the Commonwealth so that we can solve some of these problems and we can actually get along with one another without screaming at each other.
Don Purdum: Well, Eddie, I wanna thank you for taking your time to talk with me today, to talk to our growing audience here at The Conservative Era. We wanna wish you the very best in your endeavors as you begin to put this campaign together.
It’s very early.
I mean, it’s really early, but the fact that you’re out there, you’re working it, you’re meeting people, you’re doing all of the right things, you’re talking to folks; you’re setting yourself up for a great opportunity.
So thank you again so much for coming on, sharing with our audience.
You know, I’d love to have you back on.
Maybe at some point, we can talk about really some specific issues, and to kind of dive in a little deeper around some of the thoughts you may have in regards to the issues of the day that America is working through and we desperately need solutions for.
Eddie Garcia: Well, thanks for having me, Don.
I appreciate your time. I appreciate the opportunity.
People can find me at eddiegarciava.com.
That’s our website, eddiegarciava.com.
Don Purdum: Awesome. Listen, best wishes to you, and looking forward to chatting with you again very soon.
Eddie Garcia: Thank you, Don
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