Making himself at home

Article subtitle: 
New resident getting involved, set to debut new radio talk show
Article author: 
Kelly Ducote
Article publisher: 
The Observer
Article date: 
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Article category: 
Oregon Issues
Article Body: 

If one were to drop in at one of La Grande’s various advisory committee meetings, there’s a new face in town.

He’s been at City Council meetings, the big Main Street meeting, even an Urban Renewal Advisory Commission meeting.

Eddie Garcia moved to La Grande in June — and it hasn’t taken him long to get to work for his new home. He was appointed to the city’s parking, traffic safety and street maintenance advisory commission earlier this summer and will launch a radio talk show Thursday.

“It’s just an opportunity to invigorate people to have a discussion,” Garcia said of the show, “Speak Your Mind,” which airs from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays on 1450 AM in Union County and 1490 AM in Baker County.

“I’m asking questions because if I’m going to be here and be productive, let’s bring in business,” Garcia said.

Business and moving La Grande forward will be a broad topic Garcia plans to cover on his show. But stemming from that is the parking issue raised at the August public meeting for La Grande Main Street, the presence of Eastern Oregon University,and the Blue Mountain Humane Association.

“I just hope I can be a part and do something,” Garcia said.

Already Garcia has met with the sheriff, police chief, other community leaders and residents.

“There’s a bunch of folks I’ve met that have good ideas,” he said.

But not all of them are willing to go on the air to voice them.

Garcia’s civic involvement isn’t necessarily new.

“I do political consulting for a living,” he says.

He moved to La Grande from Nashville, Tenn., where he was a consultant and wrote Christian music.

“I was able to balance music with politics,” he said.

And fortunately, he can work from wherever there’s Internet, making him flexible to make it to afternoon meetings of the Urban Renewal Advisory Commission. As he continues working on races in Florida and Tennessee, he says he’s pulling from those experiences.

“If I learn something about the mayoral race there, could that apply here?” he asks.

The flexibility also provides some time to plan his show.

The first topic for the Thursday show is the new law that will allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s cards in Oregon. Jim Ludwick, with Oregonians for Immigration Reform, will be Garcia’s first guest.

Immigration is a hot topic nationwide, but for Garcia, it’s personal. He and his parents immigrated to the United States when he was 2 years old. But Garcia isn’t convinced that undocumented people should be granted driver’s cards.

Garcia’s hope is for “Speak Your Mind” to become a place of discussion for the community about the topics that matter to the community — be they La Grande Main Street, parking, immigration, law enforcement or whatever else may come up.

His new home is getting better as each day passes.

“It’s growing on me as I meet new people,” he said.

And he understands that people may not always see eye to eye.

“In the end we may agree to disagree,” he said.