Ruben Plata and Beto Vela were sworn into office this week as they continue their service to the city of Mission.
This Mon. Nov. 9, Plata and Vela were administered the oath of office to the Mission City Council in a special ceremony before the regularly called council meeting. Both men will be continuing in the Place 2 and Place 4 seats respectively following the cancellation of the general election after its delay in May.
In March the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, leading Governor Greg Abbott to call for a delay in the May elections to November. Vela was running unopposed, but Plata was running against candidate John Lopez.
Lopez passed away in August, and because no other candidates could file to run, the election was cancelled. Plata took the time following his swearing-in to Place 2 to offer his condolences to the Lopez family.
“I pray that the Lord gives them peace, as they have lost their loved one,” Plata said.
Plata also spoke about his history in service to the city of Mission, where he has been a council member for 13 years. Following this term, Plata will have served over 16 years in office.
“I promise to continue serving the community the way that I have,” Plata said. “I feel that I have a lot of energy to continue serving.”
Plata was sworn in and administered the oath of office by his pastors Jaime and Rose Loya of Cross Church in McAllen. He thanked God, his wife, his daughters and his family for their support throughout his life.
“I began serving my community when I first gave my life to Christ at the age of 14 years old,” Plata said. “I know what it is to serve – all those principles were instilled in me by my parents, and also by great ministers who I have had my entire life. I truly believe that you don’t need a title to serve. We are called to serve without worrying about receiving our reward.”
Pharmacist Beto Vela, who took over in the Place 4 seat following Gus Martinez’s shift to city attorney in Mission in 2019, was sworn in by District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez. Vela said he was honored to continue to serve the city of Mission, and thanked his wife, their children, and family for their love and support.
“[They] are the motivation for me to serve in public office and help build a better tomorrow for our community and children,” Vela said. “I look forward to serving our community as a pharmacist and council member, serving the city of Mission’s great people, which I am proud to call home.”
Vela spoke about the current All-Inclusive Park project, and what is to come for the city of Mission.
“I want to assure everyone that the rest of the council and I will continue to work very hard to ensure our future is great, and that we all get through this COVID-19 pandemic together as a city and great neighbors,” Vela said. “As we continue to bring the city’s first all-inclusive park, children with disabilities will have a place to enjoy and play. We have also promoted growth and economic development, and ensure transparency and accountability in leading the city of Mission.”
During the regularly called meeting, council member Jessica Ortega-Ochoa was elected the Mayor Pro-Tem for the city of Mission. City Secretary Anna Carillo presented the election to council.
“This is in accordance with Section 3.05 of the City Charter,” Carillo said. “The council after its first meeting after election of councilpersons shall elect one of its members Mayor Pro-Tem. The Mayor Pro-Tem shall perform the duties of the mayor in the absence and disability of the mayor.”
Council member Beto Vela made the initial motion to nominate Ortega-Ochoa to the position. Ortega-Ochoa seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously without discussion.
Mayor Armando O’caña thanked council member Norie Gonzalez Garza, who served as Mayor Pro-Tem prior to the election.
“I think the citizens have recognized your service, ma’am,” O’caña said. “On behalf of the mayor, I just want to thank you for your service.”
Ortega-Ochoa said it would be an honor to act as Mayor Pro-Tem.
“I will keep Mayor O’caña on task and maybe have less meetings, because every week we’re having about three to four – just kidding, Mayor,” Ortega-Ochoa said. “I have big shoes to fill – Mrs. Garza has been an excellent representation of Mayor Pro-Tem for the city of Mission, and I look forward to her guidance and leadership as I fill the seat.”
Ortega-Ochoa said she was also looking forward to the same from Plata and Vela.
“I think that the city of Mission is very lucky to have such a wonderful city council and mayor that work really great together,” Ortega-Ochoa said. “We just want what is in the best interests for our citizens of Mission.”