Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia: Championing the next generation
Updated: Mar 2, 2021
Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia represents District 4 on San Antonio’s City Council, covering a portion of the city’s South side. In this role, Adriana is constantly questioned about her qualifications or preparedness. In response, Adriana—proudly referred to as Dr. Garcia—forges on regardless of the baseless criticism she faces. Her goal is to continue building a network of glass ceiling smashers, calling upon other women to do the same. In her own words: “[h]ow do you keep championing the next generation of women to take over?”
Adriana was born and raised in San Antonio. She grew up in a household where her first two role models also happened to be her parents. Neither of Adriana’s parents spoke English, migrating to the United States with elementary educations. Adriana remembers having to help her parents with adult tasks like balancing their check books or submitting bill payments. Adriana found additional role models in her teachers. Adriana looked up to her Kindergarten teacher. At the time, Adriana only knew how to speak Spanish but was able to learn English because her teacher spoke in both languages to accommodate students, even though it was not an ESL program.
By the time Adriana was in high school, she started to become more exposed to politics. Her high school government teacher instilled a healthy criticism of government functions in Adriana, noting that governance is not equal to all communities especially to those that are underserved. Her interest in governance blossomed into an eventual passion for local politics.
Adriana sought and secured an appointment to San Antonio’s Ethics Review Board, a commission dedicated to processing the ethics concerns for the City Council. During her appointment, Adriana worked on an 18-month long project leading to an eventual presentation of proposed recommendations for Council to consider at the committee level and later to the entire City Council. Within minutes of the culminated presentation, the Council voted on an amendment. Adriana was concerned that the quickness in this decision-making process did not leave much time for councilmembers to actively be informed on the issues. It was this amendment vote that propelled Adriana to run for San Antonio City Council.
As a candidate, Adriana admits that running for office can be difficult. She is a single mother and her parents’ primary caretaker. It is difficult working as a councilmember while also juggling a full-time academic career. Currently, Adriana is an assistant professor of marketing and head of the marketing program at Our Lady of the Lake University. On top of this, Adriana did not hire a campaign manager given her expertise in marketing. She leaned on former candidates for logistical advice such as where to commission signs or locate voter data. While she can feel exhausted on some days, Adriana is satisfied knowing she has helped others.
Now, as a city councilmember, Adriana has far greater responsibilities than when she was on the campaign trail. The greatest issue facing her District (and the world at large) is the COVID-19 pandemic. It took a cross-council effort to prioritize the distribution of vaccines in communities that needed it most. District 4 has seen the highest number of COVID-19 cases after the Princess Diamond cruise passengers arrived at JBSA-Lackland within district limits. Additionally. District 4 is home to a lot of constituents who do not have the option to work from home, increasing their potential for exposure. Increased exposure can have catastrophic consequences in an area like District 4 that houses many multigenerational families. Measured vaccine administration is critical especially for vulnerable communities like District 4, meaning Adriana’s role as an advocate is critical.
Adriana advises other young women interested in pursuing politics to build a network of other women who have experience in the industry. She encourages people to continue seeking advice from others and then, after they have the expertise, building up other women in the pipeline.