RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN)- A familiar face here in the Black Hills works 2 careers and she's done it for more than 20 years.
For the past 21 years, Alicia Garcia has been an anchor for KOTA Territory News.
That includes 4 years as a Weekend Anchor, and the past 17 years Anchoring Monday through Friday's on KOTA Territory News at 10.
In fact she estimates she's anchored nearly 5-thousand shows over the past couple decades.
That's quite a career. But that's not how her TV career began. And that's not her only career.
We begin with her background.
"When I grew up in Los Angeles, for me there was not a real sense of community. It was really big. It's 9 million people I think, and it's hard to feel connected to things you read in the newspaper or things that you see, the news that you see on television because it just seems so far away, people that you don't know, you'll never meet, you don't have anything to do with their lives," says Alicia Garcia.
While still in California, Garcia graduated from the prestigious Stanford School of Law in 1990.
"When I graduated I went to work for one of the 3 major networks in Los Angeles doing entertainment, negotiating contracts for their prime time TV series," Garcia says.
The network was CBS, working at the complex known as Television City. One of the biggest names she dealt with was the late Burt Reynolds who was still in the prime of his career back in those days.
But Alicia didn't want to raise her kids in such a big city, and chose instead to move her family from California, to the Black Hills.
"I wanted a place where my kids could say I grew up in a community, I grew up in a place that was safe. I grew up where people smiled at me when I stopped at a stoplight," she says.
They moved to the Black Hills about 25 years ago.
These days she's not only a lawyer, she's a partner at the Abourezk Law Firm in Rapid City.
Her work is primarily focused on Consumer Protection, when an insurance company is believed to have defrauded a customer.
When I ask her how long she's been an attorney for Garcia, thinks, and responds "28 years" followed by a whole lot of laughter.
"That's a long time," I said.
"That's a very long time," she agreed.
That covers her career as an attorney. But here's how she got into TV news, 22 years ago.
"So I went to a TV station and said here's what I can do. Here's my education and I'm willing to do anything, and so John Peterson the News Director at the time was willing to give me a shot and said 'OK we'll start you out directing the noon show', and I said 'Great because I have to do it while I'm still trying to develop my law practice'," Garcia explains.
From behind the scenes Director, she moved on to Weekend Evening Anchor, and then Weeknight 10 o'clock Anchor.
And in addition to those 2 careers, she was still the loving mother of her 4 kids.
She'd work her attorney job in the morning and part of the afternoon, and then go home to be with her kids after school and into the early evening.
Then later in the evening she'd go into the station to anchor KOTA's 10 o'clock newscast. She's a Solo Anchor right now, but one sign of her longevity is this, over the year's she's worked with 10 different Co-anchors. And she's stayed right where she's at.
"I think the training that you get as a lawyer is very good for being a journalist because you're trained to be critical of information that you're given. I don't look at a press release that someone gives me and think, that's the end of the story, it's just the beginning of the story," Garcia explains.
"I think we have to dig deeper into what somebody is telling us. It can't just be a 30 second commercial for a business, for a politician, for an individual," she says.
Attorney, TV Anchor, and Mother of 4. She's busy but there's no question which one comes first.
"I wanna be remembered for being a good Mom. At the end of the day, if I don't do that right, it doesn't matter what else I do," Garcia says.
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