Flag Day Message

Speech from Gubernatorial Candidate Raul Garcia:

Dr. Raul Garcia at the podium speaking.My name is Raul Garcia, I am a Cuban born citizen of the United States. I am honored to speak to you today about our flag and what it means.

Some people refer to me as a Cuban exile. In fact I am a United States Citizen. My Mother risked everything and sacrificed a lot to bring me to this country as a child. There were tears of joy when we arrived here. We saw the flag as a symbol of our freedom, our new life, our escape from a communist regime that had taken our farm and some of our family from us.

My children were born here. My wife is Washington grown. I’m in.
For many people in other countries, especially authoritarian countries, the Stars and Stripes are not an icon. They are part of a dream about what could be. Protesters in Hong Kong haven’t been waving a White flag. They have been waving ours. I am serious. They know we are their hope.

The pledge of allegiance puts the story out of order. We are pledging allegiance to the Republic for which the flag stands. For a place where free speech is respected, where we can choose to pursue our faith, where our opportunities are mostly determined by our own hard work.

When we first arrived in America, I was a skinny kid with hand me down clothes, learning a new language and new customs. Fortunately we landed in Miami, where there was an established Cuban community that helped us adapt. I studied immunology. I became a medical doctor. I helped establish a new hospital in the Tri-Cities. I have a mortgage, too much stuff in my garage, and kids who talk back to me. I am an American.

Perhaps the times find the man. My vision of public service was my work as a doctor and community volunteer. Then we came to this moment, when politicians made a public health crisis into a political football. I decided that my skills matched this moment. I am not a career politician, but I am running for Governor because so many things are out of whack. It’s time for a change in Olympia. It’s time to unify the state, not divide it.

We need well trained, competent law enforcement. In fact we need a new wave of competent managers in our government; people who value accountability and serving the public.

We have arrived at a time when the broader American public is ready for a conversation about what we do next to provide public safety and preserve civil liberties. It will be a long road getting there. We have to get away from facilitators and white boards. Instead let’s speak with our hearts over a cup of coffee and piece of pie. There are churches and synagogues and mosques all over this state that will host these gatherings. We should honor their hospitality with civility and thoughtful leadership.

We have resilience. We have the ability to come back to ourselves after a shock like this pandemic. And we have a flag that still shines in the sun.

Thank you for listening.

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