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LA JOYA — After 14 years with Billy Leo as mayor, La Joya citizens elected for a new council, with Jose A. “Fito” Salinas as mayor and the Citizens Working Together team chosen to serve on the city’s ruling body.
“I’m so happy that the people of La Joya, especially the young people, have supported a change,” Salinas said after greeting his supporters following the release of election night returns. “I think it’s the beginning of a new La Joya.”
Salinas credited the team’s young supporters as one of the main driving forces of the group’s success.
“Our young people are great supporters and we will help bring more opportunities to make this a better city,” Salinas said.
At the United In Progress headquarters, Leo thanked his supporters and campaign workers, stressing the team had run a good campaign.
“We fought a good, honest fight,” Leo said, suggesting the Citizens Working Together team had benefitted from money and outside influences from people who don’t live in La Joya.
In the alderman race, Citizens Working Together candidates Mike Salinas earned 733 votes and running mate Anna Lisa Ruiz earned 685 votes. United In Progress incumbents Lee Roy Alaniz earned 535 votes and Angie Garza earned 544 votes.
“I’m going to keep my word and do something for the kids,” Ruiz said.
The mayor-elect said he was surprised by the turnout, but added that his team helped register 200 new voters for this election. He also credited his wife, Alderwoman Mary Salinas, in the success of the campaign. She visited La Joya homes for weeks campaigning for the team, he said.
“It’s a record,” he said of the turn out. “It’s tremendous.”
Salinas thanked the community for the support in his team, which, he said, proves residents want a change.
“I didn’t win this election, they did,” he said of his supporters.
Salinas also said he would work with Leo to discuss any ongoing projects the outgoing mayor wants to see completed.
Further west, Sullivan City residents, reelected incumbent Daniel Flores to his Place 2 city council seat. Residents also elected his running mates, Leonel “Leo” Garcia and Adriana Rodriguez, who ran unopposed.
Flores earned 336 votes; his opponent Dorance Cuba received 187 votes for the Place 2 seat.
In Place 1, Garcia earned 346 votes while opponent Nidia Benavides earned 187.
In Peñitas, the city only attracted 40 voters for the Crime Control and Prevention District. All 40 voters chose to approve the continuance of the use of sales tax for local law enforcement.
Palmhurst residents also voted to keep their incumbents with Place 1 councilmember Ruben De Leon earning 308 votes for his seat against Norma Alvarez, who received 246 votes.
Place 2 incumbent Jaime Aranda, who campaigned with De Leon, earned 301 votes. His opponent, Jackie Field Jr. earned 252 votes.
In Place 5, Ofelia Peña Perez was elected with 300 votes; her opponent, David Guzman Jr. earned 256 votes.
Mayor Ramiro Rodriguez said Palmhurst had one of the highest participation races in the county, with over 40 percent of eligible residents voting.
On Wednesday after being sworn into office, the group said they campaigned door-to-door to get voters.
“We worked hard to knock on every door,” said Perez. “We stressed to them the issues. That’s the bottom line.”
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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.