Mayor John DeStefano endorsed Gerry Garcia ’94 SOM ’01 for secretary of the state at City Hall today.

At a press conference, DeStefano, who first met Garcia when Garcia was New Haven’s Ward 9 alderman, said that as alderman Garcia “stood up for things that were important in people’s lives, and he built partnerships to do that.”

By securing the support of New Haven’s 81 delegates, the state’s largest delegation, to the Democratic nominating convention in May, the Garcia campaign moves a step closer to locking down the party’s nomination for secretary of the state.

As secretary of the state, the state’s chief elections officer, Garcia said in an interview Monday that he would be a “get-out-the-vote evangelist.”

“Giving people a stake in the democratic process is essential to what this campaign is aiming to do,” Garcia said, adding that the only way a Democrat will be elected governor in November is by crafting a ticket that will bring people out to vote who otherwise would not have voted.

If elected, Garcia, a financial adviser based in New Haven, would be the first resident of the city to hold statewide constitutional office since Clarine Riddle, who served as attorney general from 1989 to 1991.

Garcia, a Puerto Rican Jew, also received on Friday the endorsement of the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus, a group of Latino lawmakers in the state.