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MISSION — New candidates may have fueled their campaigns by taking their platforms to the streets with campaign supporters to get their names out, but it was incumbents in local races that came out victorious this week to return to their positions.
La Joya Independent School Board incumbents Jose A. “Fito” Salinas and Johnn Alaniz will retain their seats on the board for another four years, joined by their PASS group members U.S. Border Patrol agent Narciso “Chicho” Solis and Palmview Municipal Judge J.J. Peña Jr.
“We really want to thank our supporters and we want them to know that we will continue with plans of doing the best for our students and working with our superintendent,” said Salinas, who currently serves as the board’s president.
Salinas said the election cycle was tough with voters and opponents lumping PASS with State Rep. Ismael “Kino” Flores who was recently convicted of perjury and tampering with government records.
“People were confusing us with Kino and our opponents were making false accusations,” Salinas said. “We’re not doing away with fine arts or student programs, but you know, desperate times call for desperate measures.”
Despite negative campaigns, Salinas said he and his running mates were confident in their win following high voter turn out in early voting. The most difficult aspect of the campaign was battling their opposition, which Salinas said included Hidalgo County Judge-elect Ramon Garcia, Hidalgo County Commissioner Joe M. Flores, La Joya Mayor Billy Leo and mayors from Sullivan City and Peñitas.
“They had a lot of support,” Salinas said. “But we were real confident up to the end.”
Salinas regained his seat with 51 percent of the vote, according to results from the Hidalgo County Elections Department. His challenger Oscar “Coach” Salinas received 49 percent of the vote for the Place 2 seat.
Peña, who successfully earned his seat in his first try at the school board election, received 53 percent of the vote. J.J. Garza received 47 percent of the vote for Place 1.
In Place 3, Alaniz was re-elected with 4,293 votes, or 53 percent of the vote. Eden Ramirez earned 3,755 votes or 47 percent of the vote. Alaniz could not be reached for comment at press time.
Despite his loss, Ramirez said he intends to remain active in the district.
“No, I’m not going to shy away,” he said. “A person who loses and doesn’t go back to fight for the people at meetings or on the ground wasn’t there for the right reasons in the first place. This is not a deal breaker for me. It’s something to deal with.”
Peña said while the PASS group was all elected onto the board, each of the members have their own ideas to bring to LJISD.
“We’re seven different people there,” Peña said of the full board. “We have different sets of beliefs. Everybody brings something different to the table, we just have to work together and move La Joya ISD forward.”
According to county results, more than 77,000 people voted county-wide in this general election, about a 37 percent increase from the 2006 election. On Election Day, 25,759 people reported to the county’s 140 precincts.
Palmview’s proposition didn’t see a big turn out, despite the LJISD board election. On the city’s call to continue its Palmview Police Department’s Crime Control and Prevention District, 78 percent of voters approved the measure. It will now continue for five years with the district’s sales tax of one cent used to fund the district.
Incumbents in the races for state representatives also held tight to their seat this week.
Democrat Veronica Gonzales will keep her seat as District 41’s state representative with 10,589 votes. Republican Rebecca Cervera had 8,003 votes.
In the race for U.S. Representative for District 28, Democratic incumbent Henry Cuellar received over 16,000 votes more than Republican challenger Bryan Underwood.
Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry will continue on as Texas’ longest-serving governor with 2.7 million supporters. Houston Mayor Bill White received approximately 2.1 million votes.
Republican Lt. Governor David Dewhurst also retained his seat with more than three million votes. Democratic challenger Linda Chavez-Thompson received a little more than one million votes.
Likewise, Republicans Greg Abbott and Susan Combs each received over 1.7 million votes to stay in their positions at attorney general and state comptroller, respectively.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.