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20110107_Garcia_3EDINBURG — Hidalgo County welcomed the new year by ushering in its newest chief when Interim Judge Ramon Garcia was officially sworn into office on Jan. 1 at the Edinburg City Hall by Judge Joe Evins, Garcia's longtime mentor.

Garcia has been serving as interim County Judge since November, when he was selected to complete the unexpired term vacated after former Interim Judge Rene Ramirez resigned as chief administrator.

“I am excited to begin my full term as county judge and look forward to starting this new year on a strong, positive note,” said Garcia. “The partnerships we have forged and the support from the community will strengthen our ability to make great strides toward moving the county forward.”

Garcia said his priorities include working in collaborative partnership with the other members of the court, with local business and civic leaders, and with the general public to address critical issues affecting the county, including transportation, economic development, drainage, indigent defense, and health care.

On Monday, the court was completed with the swearing in of Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios. Honorable Judge Mario Ramirez officiated the ceremony.

Palacios, 37, takes over the helm from Commissioner Oscar L. Garza Jr., who served the county for 12 years.

Palacios, who has been working side-by-side with his former opponent since the election to ensure a smooth transition, said he looks forward to continuing worthwhile projects such as the drainage improvements that have helped residents living in low-lying areas gain a better quality of life and regional mobility.

His issues include promoting a process to consolidate major infrastructure projects and manage county assets, building efficiency in county services to reduce government spending while embracing the growing demands the county, strengthening state and federal ties to leverage grant funds, and creating high-wage jobs through economic development.

“I am looking forward to representing the residents of Precinct 4 and the county,” Palacios said. “I humbly thank our constituents for entrusting me with this great honor, and I assure them that I will not be a master of government, but a servant of the people.”

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