The four candidates swept the race for the Palmview commission, according to unofficial totals, with more than 40 percent of the 3,317 registered voters in the community casting a ballot. The votes are scheduled to be canvassed by the city Tuesday and the new members will be sworn in Thursday.
“The people have spoken, and that’s what it is,” said Jerry Perez, Palmview Proud’s mayoral candidate. “We’re just folks who have lived in the community for more than 30 years, and people know us and we’re just plain, straight-forward guys.”
Palmview Proud candidates are Perez, Arlando Nacianceno in Place 1, Jose “Hoss” Hernandez in Place 2 and Ricky Villarreal in Place 4. Perez resigned his seat of 18 years as the Place 1 alderman to run for mayor, and this was Villarreal’s first bid for re-election to keep his seat.
Perez won his race with 60 percent of the votes, winning 809 of the 1,341 ballots cast. Villarreal received 62 percent of the votes in his race. Both newcomers Nacianceno and Hernandez garnered the least amount of votes, less than 800, or 58 percent.
Challengers were the Palmview Leadership slate: Joe Chapa for mayor, Mario Garza in Place 1, Alejandro Cantu in Place 2 and Albino Villarreal in Place 4. All four candidates were political newcomers who believed Palmview should be run like a business.
Since all four Palmview Proud candidates work for La Joya Independent School District, some in leadership roles, Palmview Leadership candidates had previously said they were going up against the entire school district.
“They worked from all angles, trying to hint at corruption,” Perez said. “I understand politics, that’s a given, but come on–it’s like on the debate, there was no substance to what they were responding. To me, they were just shooting in the dark.”
Perez said he thought the community saw the sincerity in members of Palmview Proud, and that they are hard-working and ethical.
Once in office, Perez said he wants to do a thorough assessment of the departments and inspire staff to be proud to work for the city. City employees are residents’ first points of contact at city hall, and their attitudes matter, Perez said. Though he’s been on the city commission nearly two decades, Perez said before he was only one vote. As mayor, he said, “the buck stops with me now.”
“That’s my approach, and that’s how I’m going to be,” he said. “As a commissioner, I’m just one vote. It takes a majority to do something.”