BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Wasco City Council met earlier Tuesday to make an important decision around Pride Month. Council Members voted on whether or not to fly a Pride Flag outside Wasco City Hall as a way of recognizing inclusivity.
After a number of public comments for and against the move, council members eventually voted down the motion three to one. The Mayor of Wasco tells 23 ABC he's a part of the LGBTQ+ community and decided to introduce the idea after being inspired by other young leaders around the nation recently and local youth in the community. He says even though the vote was not in favor of the flag raising, he's proud to have spurred an important community conversation that will continue past pride month.
"It's not important that I'm the first LGBTQ+ elected official, what's important is that I'm not the last. And that's my mission as Mayor here and that is to serve as an example of kindness, understanding and leadership. With that being said - we're not going to skip a beat, sure the vote failed, but we still have alot left to be done," he said.
Garcia says council members weren't opposed to another display of support for the LGBTQ+ community, including an inclusion march or rally.
A press release from Garcia is attached below:
WASCO, CA — This evening, I made a historic motion on behalf of all of my constituents to proudly fly the Pride Flag over Wasco City Hall to commemorate Pride Month in solidarity with the local LGBT community.
Unfortunately, my colleagues did not agree with this motion, and we did not move forward with the recommendation. Although the council may have heard some discouraging remarks, I know this doesn’t reflect the true values the community of Wasco represents. We are a city of inclusion and love that embraces our diversity and thrives because of it.
As the first openly LGBT Mayor in the County of Kern, I know first-hand the significance that flying the Pride Flag over city hall would have not just for the LGBTQ community but for all residents of Wasco. Although we may not have won this vote, the fight for equality, inclusion, and recognition marches on. The residents of Wasco elected me to be a bold leader and stand up for those underrepresented within our community, and that’s exactly what I promise to continue doing. Happy Pride Month Wasco!
Also at the meeting -- Council Members increased funding for the Kern County Sheriff's Department by $1 million over the previous five-year agreement.
The city will now pay KCSO $4.2 million for services.