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Agua SUD cancels uncontested elections

The Agua Special Utility District canceled two uncontested elections last week.

Agua SUD canceled the elections for District 5 and District 6 during a utility board meeting on Sept. 2. Two other races — District 4 and District 7 — remain on the November ballot.

“Pursuant to Sections 144.005 and 146.054 of the Texas Election Code, eligible residents had until August 22, 2022 to file an application for a place on the ballot and until August 26, 2022 to declare for write-in candidacy,” according to a memo prepared by Austin-based law firm Beatty Navarre Strama, which represents the utility district. “The only eligible candidate who filed an application for a place on the ballot for District 5 is Ms. Ana Maria Perez. The only eligible candidate who filed an application for a place on the ballot for District 6 is Mr. Ricardo Perez. The August 26, 2022 deadline expired without any individuals declaring for write-in candidacy. As Ms. Perez and Mr. Perez (the ‘Candidates’) are running unopposed, Section 2.053 of the Texas Election Code requires Agua SUD to declare the unopposed Candidates to be elected and to cancel the election for District 5 and District 6.”

The utility board voted 5-0 to cancel the District 5 and District 6 elections.

Director Ivan Sandoval didn’t attend the meeting. Director Homer Tijerina abstained.

Agua SUD is governed by a seven-member board of directors. Each director represents a district that contains a roughly equal population.


The Agua SUD board approved redistricting Plan A on Aug. 8, 2022. (Map courtesy of Agua SUD.)


District 5 covers the eastern part of Palmview and a small part of western Mission.

The incumbent, Director Cesar Rodriguez Jr., couldn’t run for re-election because of term limits.

Just one candidate, Ana Maria Perez, 49, of Palmview, submitted a ballot application.

Ana Maria Perez is an educator and librarian employed by the La Joya Independent School District. She’s also the daughter of former state District Judge Aida Salinas Flores and the wife of Palmview City Councilman Jose Luis “J.L.” Perez.

Two candidates submitted ballot applications for District 6, which covers the eastern part of La Joya and an L-shaped part of rural Hidalgo County that runs north along Jara Chinas Road and east along 9 Mile Line.

The utility board appointed Rick Perez, 58, of La Joya to District 6 in 2021, when Director Adolfo Arriaga resigned.

Businesswoman Sylvia C. Oxford, 66, of La Joya also submitted a ballot application for District 6.

Agua SUD, however, determined that Oxford actually lived in District 7 and rejected her application. That left Rick Perez without an opponent.

State law required Agua SUD to cancel the uncontested elections.

“Upon cancellation of the election for District 5 and District 6, a copy of the executed order, in
both Spanish and English, will be posted at the polling places that would have been used in the election,” according to the memo, “to provide notice to potential voters that the Agua SUD directors for District 5 and District 6, respectively, were running unopposed and have been declared elected in accordance with the Texas Election Code.”

Ana Maria Perez and Rick Perez will take office in November.

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