ADRIAN — Adrian native Will Garcia announced Wednesday that he is challenging incumbent state Rep. Bronna Kahle, R-Adrian, for the 57th State House District seat.

“This evening, I am aware that I am addressing a community in pain. Our businesses are closed, our schools are empty, and our hospitals are very, very busy,” Garcia said. “People throughout our community don't know how they'll put food on the table, when they'll find relief, or who to turn to in this time of unprecedented crisis. In this great difficulty, servitude is more more important than ever before. We need civil servants that understand the mighty challenges that our community is facing and have the resolve to address them.” 

Garcia, a Democrat, made the announcement through a live stream. Garcia spoke about his upbringing, education — attending St. Joseph Academy, Adrian Public Schools and taking online classes at Central Michigan University — and the community’s involvement in helping him get to where he is.

Garcia works as a solid waste program coordinator for Washtenaw County Solid Waste Department, something he said he could only have attained through the quality education and support through, staff, teachers and community organizations such as Michigan Works.

“When I needed help, there was an opportunity for me,” he said.

He furthered his education while working as a waiter, he said, taking classes at night after long shifts, prior to being accepted to an internship at his current workplace where he now is responsible for a program that he said keeps 350,000 pounds of toxic materials out of the environment.

Yet, he said, even before the coronavirus, people in Lenawee County were having trouble making ends meet, lacked healthcare and opportunities.

“But one of the most profound lessons that I learned from the community that raised me, is that we can and we must find opportunity in the face of adversity," he said. "I find the courage to be hopeful. I have hope that if and only if we come together, we can secure good-paying jobs that provide a dignified standard of living. Hope that we can provide healthcare to all of us. Hope that we can invest in education to give all of our kids a fair chance at life. Hope that if our community is given a fair opportunity, we will rise to it.”

Garcia said that while some would like to return to how it was before the pandemic, he called it a “broken status quo” and pledging to “go forward,” according to his website.

“We don't have to go back to the way it was. We don't have to go back to seeing our senior citizens cutting their prescriptions in half because they can't afford their medications. We don't have to go back to knowing that our neighbors are working longer and longer hours but still can't make ends meet … ,” Garcia said. “A new day has come holding a self evident truth that all are created equal. A new day has come sharing its promise that if we come together, finding solace in each other and the solidarity of our community, we will find courage in times of despair, we will find strength in times of hardship and we will find relief in times of uncertainty."

Garcia, who never held an elected office, will face Jesse Ryan Reynolds of Raisin Township in a primary currently scheduled for Aug. 4.

The winner of the primary will face Kahle in the general election Nov. 3. Kahle will be running for her third and final two-year term in the state House.