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Palmview councilman will run unopposed for mayor

City Councilman Rick Villarreal is poised to become the next mayor of Palmview.

Villarreal submitted a ballot application on Aug. 16. Nobody filed against him, leaving Villarreal the odds-on favorite.

Rick Villarreal“I’m humbled,” said Villarreal, 48, an assistant superintendent at the La Joya Independent School District.

Villarreal will replace Mayor Jerry Perez, who plans to retire from politics after two decades on the City Council.

The candidates aligned with Villarreal, though, weren’t as lucky.

Villarreal supports City Councilman Joselito “Hoss” Hernandez, 55, who’s running for re-election to Place 2, and political newcomer Arturo “Art” Alaniz, 54, a retired teacher who’s running for Place 4.

Endorsed by the City Council, they plan to campaign together as “Progress for Palmview.”

On Monday, the last day to submit a ballot application, candidates filed against them.

Jose Luis Perez, 54, who heads the math department at Salinas Middle School, filed for Place 2, and Anthony Uresti, 26, a social studies teacher at Garcia Middle School, filed for Place 4.

Both come from political backgrounds.

Perez is the son-in-law of former state District Judge Aida Salinas Flores. He ran for City Council in November 2016 but lost by nearly 300 votes.

After talking with his wife, Perez decided to try again.
“We don’t want to give up so easy just because we lost one time,” Perez said.

He’s running with Anthony Uresti, the son of former City Councilman Antonio Uresti and former La Joya school board President Rita Garza-Uresti.

“I’ve known him probably since he was born,” Perez said.

Anthony Uresti graduated from La Joya High School, studied at South Texas College and earned a master’s degree from the University of Texas A&M-Kingsville. He teaches seventh grade social studies and coaches football.

“I’ve always been a citizen of Palmview and I feel that Palmview needs to grow to its full potential,” Anthony Uresti said. “I really want to see Palmview succeed as a city.”

He plans to run with Perez as “Palmv1ew Proud.” They’re loosely affiliated with Team Un1ted, a political coalition that supports three Palmview candidates for school board.

Who the City Council candidates support for school board could become a major issue during the campaign.

Members of the City Council, including Villarreal, blame school board Trustee Johnn Alaniz — the former city manager — for financial problems that befell Palmview during the past decade. They’re supporting his opponent, Mary T. Hernandez, for school board.

Asked which City Council candidates he would support, Johnn Alaniz answered bluntly.

“I will be supporting the people who are willing to support me,” Johnn Alaniz said, declining to identify individual candidates.

While he didn’t draw an opponent, Villarreal said he still plans to campaign “100 miles per hour” with Hernandez and Alaniz. He anticipates they’ll face tough but friendly challenges from the Palmv1ew Proud candidates.

“Anthony and Jose Luis are good friends,” Villarreal said. “Jose Luis and I played ball together back in the late 80s.”

Early voting starts Oct. 22. Election Day is Nov. 6.

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