Futuro RGV hosts its second Hidalgo County Candidate Forum
By Bryan Ramos
emocratic candidates facing off in the upcoming primary election met Tuesday night as Futuro RGV hosted its second Hidalgo County Candidate Forum inside the Edinburg Municipal Auditorium.
Nearly 200 people filled the building as the candidates running against each other came together to state their case on why they are the right choice.
Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Commissioner candidates incumbent Joseph Palacios and Ellie Torres met to discuss their qualifications, as well as a new county courthouse and drainage and roadway infrastructure.
“My mission is for reelection,” said Palacios, who has served as commissioner for seven years. “I want to share our constituency for the next four years. One of the most monumental things we did is reduce the tax rate for the first time in 19 years.”
Torres stated her experience as a trustee for Edinburg CISD, where she oversaw more than $22 million worth of construction and managed a budget over $350 million.
“I believe you deserve a servant leader who is transparent, a servant leader who is committed to working for you,” Torres said. “You deserve a servant leader who can collaborate with city, state and federal agencies, neighboring counties, and fellow commissioners, and most importantly, you, the constituents. I intend to serve you with the same passion, commitment, honesty and transparency that I have served my constituents as a trustee of the Edinburg CISD. I am a business-woman, a former educator, a life-long learner, a concerned taxpayer and most importantly, a woman of minority.”
Three of the four candidates for Hidalgo County Treasurer attended, including Raudel “Raudy” Maldonado, Lita Leo and David Salazar Jr. The three were asked if Hidalgo county should follow along as other counties have and do away with the treasurer position altogether. The three responded by agreeing Hidalgo County has enough on its plate to keep a county treasurer, but that ultimate decision would be left up to the commissioners court.
Candidates for the 275th state District Judge Marla Cuellar and Patricia “Patty” O’Cana-Olivarez were asked about the arrest of District Judge Rudy Delgado over allegations of receiving bribes from attorneys.
“I think I have developed a reputation as a person with integrity, respect, compassion and impartiality,” Cuellar sid.
O’Cana-Olivarez, who served as the School Board President of Mission ISD and a licensed attorney of 15 years, stated that through her experience, it’s important that my community sees me as transparent.”
The democratic candidates for the Chief Justice Thirteenth Court of Appeals, Dori Contreras and Ray Thomas. Contreras has served as a justice in the court for more than 10 years, which she says makes her uniquely qualified for the position. Thomas, who hasn’t served as a justice, said his 30 years in law is what makes him qualified.
County Court-at-Law No. 5 Judge incumbent Arnoldo Cantu Jr. and Armando Marroquin were on hand to discuss why they are the ideal candidate.
Cantu has been the judge since the court’s creation in 2002 and opening in 2003, the only judge in Court No. 5 during that time. Cantu said the court stays very busy, seeing nearly 4,000 cases a year.
Marroquin cited his political experience as a municipal judge, representing other cities in the RGV, and 15 years of practicing law.
“Over 15 years of experience as a lawyer, I’ve been very blessed to practice in federal and state courts throughout the state,” he said. “I currently serve as municipal judge in the city of Edcouch Elsa, I also represent the city of Penitas, as well as Sullivan City.”
The winners of the March primaries will face off against their Republican counterpart in November.