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Ortega-Ochoa, Garza take their seats on Mission council

20140519 Mission-City-council-swearing-in-ceremony JS  7632The newcomer and the political veteran both got choked up with emotion Monday after they were sworn in to serve on the Mission City Council.

“If I had a dollar for each person that told me it wasn’t my time, that I was too young, I would have paid off my campaign by now,” said Jessica Ortega-Ochoa, who won Place 1 with 53 percent of the vote, pushing out incumbent Maria Elena Ramirez. “I’m proud to say that I was an independent candidate all the way through.”

Ortega-Ochoa highlighted her experience in social work and communications, and she made sure to thank the 2,661 people who cast a ballot for her.

“And for the 2,337 that didn’t, by the end of my four-year term, I’ll have you believing in me too,” Ortega-Ochoa said.

It was Ortega-Ochoa’s second attempt to earn a seat on the council, and Ramirez had the support of incumbent Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas. Salinas missed avoiding a runoff in his own election with 49 percent of the vote. Challengers Jaime Gutierrez and Dr. John Guerra received 2,698 votes to Salinas’ 2,590.

The runoff is scheduled for June 21 with early voting running from June 9-17.

Place 3 Councilwoman Norie Gonzalez Garza was the only incumbent to run unopposed for her seat.

“I told Jessica that this is my sixth time that I get sworn in and I still get nervous, and it’s because we take this very seriously, and it’s a very huge honor to be here at this table because it means that you have trust in us to do well and to do what’s best for the city of Mission,” Garza said.

Garza originally was elected in 2007 after serving three years on the Mission Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees.

“My promise to you is that I will continue to work hard and diligently and fair to continue the progress and prosperity and the growth that we have experienced in Mission for the past 16 years,” Garza said.

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