LD 27 State Senator/Senate Minority Leader Democrat Jorge Luis Garcia passed away suddenly due to a heart attack on Friday, October 15, 2010. He was 57 years old. Senator Garcia was elected to the Arizona State Senate representing LD 27 in 2003 and has served as Senator Minority Leader for the past 2 years. He had previously served in the Arizona House of Representatives (2 terms) from 1993 to 1997.
His colleague LD 28 State Senator Paula Aboud stated this morning: “Senator Garcia was one of the most committed and dedicated senators I have ever known. In the Senate he was our beacon of goodness and kindness…and he will be missed so dearly by our Democratic community and his colleagues who loved him so.”
Because Jorge was termed out of the State Senate he chose to run for state-wide Corporation Commission this year. He was the top vote getter in the 8/24/10 Democratic primary for Corporation Commission, garnering 142,859 votes (34.08%), more than fellow candidates David Bradley and Renz Jennings. I last wrote about that race on October 4 (click here). His name will remain on the General Election ballot since early voting has begun.
In his own words from his campaign bio for Arizona Corporation Commission (www.votegarcia.org):
“I was born in Nogales, Sonora. At age 9 my mother, who was born in Miami, AZ, moved us to Nogales, AZ, and later to Phoenix. After graduating from Phoenix Union HS, I moved to Tucson with my wife. I earned my Bachelors degree (Sociology) from the U of A and a Master’s degree in Social Work from ASU. Maria and I have three adult children: Yvette (Special Education Teacher), Dominique (Marketing) and Rolando (Civil Engineer). Maria and I also have four grandchildren.
In my 7 years as STATE SENATOR for District 27, I have worked hard to bring JUSTICE to the interests of WORKERS, CONSUMERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT.”
I worked with Jorge back in 1996/97 when I served as Tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona. He served as Director of Social Services at the Pascua Yaqui Tribe from 1988 to 1999. He was soft-spoken, but caring and compassionate for the underprivileged. When I last spoke with Jorge, I joked with him saying that he would miss the excitement of being in the State Legislature since he was termed out, and now running for Corporation Commission.
His career history from Project Vote Smart:
Social Worker/Practicing Registered Nurse, University Physicians, Incorporated, 2005-present
Contract Social Worker, Self Employed with Indian Tribes, 2002-present
Independent Contractor, Various Tribal Governments, 2000-2005
Home Health Administrator and Program Manager, Tohono O’odham Nation, 1999-2001
Social Service Director, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, 1988-1999
Emergency Room Social Worker/Practicing Registered Nurse, Maricopa Medical Center, 1990-1998
Social Worker/Practicing Registered Nurse, University Medical Center, 1991-1993
Clinical Manager, Maricopa Medical Center, 1984-1987
Deputy Director, El Rio Health Center, 1980-1984
You can see that Jorge dedicated his life to social service work and health care. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends & constituents in Legislative District 27, his fellow legislators, the Pima County Democratic Party, and the Arizona Democratic Party.
Memorial services are pending (click here.)