Like any other lawmaker, Rep.-elect Robert Garcia will swear his oath of office on a foundational text. He chose the US Constitution over the Bible or another religious book, and when the time comes, he’ll also take his oath with three sentimental items, including the first edition comic of Superman.
“I've read almost all genres, but Superman is always the character that stood out and spoke to me the most,” Garcia, a Democrat from California, told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday.
Reporters on Tuesday spotted the vintage comic book among the items laid out in the House of Representatives in preparation of the swearing-in of newly elected members. In a tweet, Garcia, who describes himself as a comic book nerd in his Twitter bio, acknowledged it was for him. He said he will be sworn in to Congress with the Constitution as well as a photograph of his parents, who both died during the pandemic; his naturalization paperwork from when he became a US citizen; and the first edition of Superman, which he borrowed from the Library of Congress.
“Will be proudly sworn-in to Congress on the U.S. Constitution. Underneath the Constitution will be 3 items that mean a lot to me personally. A photo of my parents who I lost to covid, my citizenship certificate & an original Superman #1 from the @librarycongress. 🇺🇸😊”
Public servants often get symbolic as they consider how they’ll take their oath. President Joe Biden used a Bible that has been in his family for generations, and Vice President Kamala Harris swore on two books: a Bible that belonged to a woman she considered a mother figure, as well as a Bible once owned by Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice. Garcia explained to BuzzFeed News the significant role that comic books and superheroes had on him growing up as an immigrant.
“I learned to read and write English reading comics as a kid. Never stopped reading,” he said.
Garcia, who moved to the US from Peru, said that the values he grew up with while reading Superman are ones that he brings with him into his adult life and his new job.
“I grew up mostly reading Superman comics, you know, truth and justice, an immigrant that was different, was raised by good people that welcomed them and always someone that if you look at Superman values, and caucus values, it's about justice, it's about honesty, it's doing the right thing, standing up for people that need support.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Garcia served eight years as mayor of Long Beach, California.
It’s not yet clear when he’ll actually be sworn in. Garcia, along with other new members of the House, must wait until a speaker of the House is named by a majority of lawmakers — which has so far been derailed by dramatic infighting among Republicans this week.