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20101109_Hidalgo-County-Judge-Ceremony_010EDINBURG — Judge Ramon Garcia returned to his old job Tuesday, weeks ahead of schedule after Interim Hidalgo County Judge Rene A. Ramirez resigned.

At Tuesday’s Commissioners’ Court, Garcia was selected to serve as the new interim judge for the remainder of former Judge J.D. Salinas III’s term, which ends Dec. 31.

Childhood friend and Justice of the Peace Bobby Contreras administered the oath of office to Garcia who was surrounded by family and supporters.

Following the oath, Garcia took to his old seat on the court and told the audience he was elected to be fiscally responsible, with mindful spending to not raise taxes.

“That’s what I pledged to the community,” Garcia said. “All elections are about change, but the kind of change that happens in the county isn’t happening now, it’s happening in January.”

At the start of 2011, the court will also see the additions of Precinct 1 Commissioner Joel Quintanilla and Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios. Quintanilla was sworn into office on Wednesday in Weslaco.

Preparing for his term, Garcia said he’s spent the past few months talking with Palacios about their goals for the county, along with expectations for the future.

“I look forward to the change I know will happen after Jan. 11, 2011,” he said before returning to the court’s weekly agenda.

Garcia was elected to return to his seat as county judge in the Democratic primaries against former Judge Eloy Pulido. Garcia earned 25,339 votes to Pulido’s 14,254, according to election results. There was no Republican candidate for the position.

Before leaving Commissioners’ Court, Ramirez, who announced his resignation Nov. 4, thanked county staff and residents for their support in his short tenure here. Ramirez said he was leaving his post to allow the new administration to begin working.

“It’s been a great honor to serve with the board, but it’s been great to also work with constituents,” Ramirez said.

Commissioners each thanked Ramirez for his work over the years he served as judge, specifically for his connections in Austin and Washington, D.C. that helped the county secure Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.

“Thank you for being here,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Joe M. Flores. “We’re going to continue working with you.”

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