2017-12-06 / Front Page

Political candidates already gearing up in Willacy


Politics are heating up in Willacy County with many local candidates already filing as candidates for the March primary election, declaring their plans to file or putting up signs.

Most noticeable are large signs for Carlos Masso, a former Willacy County and Cameron County assistant district attorney who is running for judge of the 197th state District Court.

Incumbent Judge Migdalia Lopez is not running for re-election to the position, said Willacy County Democratic Party Chairman Ernesto “Lefty” Cavazos.

That court has jurisdiction in both Cameron and Willacy County and is the only district court in Willacy County. Prior to Lopez’s tenure on the Willacy bench since 1999, all district judges in Cameron County would take turns presiding in Willacy County but often there are visiting judges or judges appointed by Lopez presiding in the Raymondvillebased court.

Lopez’s term on the 197th bench expires Dec. 31, 2018.

Justice Nora Longoria of the 13th state District Court of Appeals is running for re-election and was present at the Pioneer Appreciation Dinner in Raymondville.

Masso passed out cards declaring his candidacy at last Saturday’s Willacy County Democratic Pioneer Appreciation Dinner at the VFW hall and his large posters are already appearing around Willacy County. He was not available for comment on Tuesday.

Adolfo Cordova is also running for the 197th judgeship, Cavazos said.

State Rep. Ryan Guillen of Rio Grande City, whose district includes Willacy County, is also running for re-election, Cavazos said.

It is likely more people will file for local races or for state posts, the county chairman said. Many candidates wait until the last minute, but it would be to their advantage to talk to him before the weekend because they must get the proper forms, know how to fill them out and to get them notarized, he said.

“Everybody has my (telephone) number,” he said, noting that anything is possible. The filing deadline is 6 p.m. Dec. 6.

Place 2 County Commissioner Oscar De Luna; District Clerk Isabel Adame, who was appointed after the death of former District Clerk Gilbert Lozano; incumbent Treasurer Ruben Cavazos; incumbent Justice of the Peace Place 1 Yesenia Rosas; Incumbent JP-4 Ruben Cardenas; incumbent JP-5 Rudy Cantu.

Terry Flores, who has been county clerk since 1981, is not filing for re-election, she said. But Susana Rios Garza , who has worked in the clerk’s office since 1982, filed her candidacy papers with Cavazos on Nov. 22.

Roland “Wolf” Chapa, GOP Chairman, said that, so far, no Republicans have filed for office in Willacy County.

In Raymondville city government, the commissioner seat left vacant after the recent death of Place 4 Commissioner Ezekiel “Zeke” Cavazos is being sought by political insider Edward Gonzales and by Irene Cavazos, who ran against Zeke Cavazos.

Gonzales served two terms as a JP in Kenedy County when he was in his 20s, he said. He presently represents state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. in Kenedy and Willacy Counties. He was a special projects coordinator and grant writer for Willacy County, graduated from Raymondville High School and attended Texas A&M University Kingsville. He is vice president of the Willacy County Emergency Services District, is chairman of the newly reformed Willacy County Rotary Club, a member of Communities Against Substance Abuse and is past chairman of Cameron-Willacy Counties Community Projects Inc.

“Those things (community improvement projects) are my passion,” Gonzales said. Raymondville needs to play to its strengths and develop agriculture related businesses and industries.

Gonzales faces candidate Irene Cavazos, who previously ran against Zeke Cavazos for the Place 4 City Commission seat. Although she had high regard for Zeke Cavazos, who she said was a very kind individual, it is her belief the city needs new leadership.

The downtown business district looks very bad, with many businesses closing down in the past few years, Cavazos said. Raymondville, which has opportunities brought by companies such as the VTX-1 telephone company, wind turbines, new hotels and other growth, but is falling behind, she said.

The city needs to develop ecotourism, it needs to improve the appearance of the downtown and fix crumbling streets and infrastructure, Cavazos said.

She has seen small towns in the Austin area that have smaller population than Raymondville but have developed and grown, something she wants Raymondville to do.

Cavazos, a widow for 20 years, is a single mom. She raised her son on her own and he is now a junior at the University of Texas at Austin.

She is a graduate of Pan American University, put herself through college after her husband’s death.

She served on the Ignite School Board. She has also worked as a professional mediator.

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