EDINBURG, RGV – Edinburg mayoral candidate Gina Marie Alamia has offered her view on the value of Santana Textiles to the city of Edinburg.
The other two candidates for mayor, Richard Garcia, the incumbent, and Richard Molina, a challenger, gave sharply different views on the denim manufacturer in a recent Rio Grande Guardian article. Mayor Garcia was praiseworthy, Council Member Molina said the company was a financial drag.
The Rio Grande Guardian caught up with Alamia at the draw to decide where the candidates appear on the November ballot. Alamia was drawn second. Molina will be first on the ballot, Garcia third.
“I just think what is happening with the Textiles is that, we should be collaborative, first and foremost if we are going to be on the council. The fact that one has one view and the other has another view, and now they have a difference of opinion, it just doesn’t look very professional and it doesn’t look right,” Alamia said.
“I think from the beginning we should be very transparent and we should let the viewers, we should let the city know exactly what is happening with all these contracts. Do I think there is something that is being hidden? Yes. Do I think they are making money off the taxpayers? Yes. One or both? Both.”
Alamia is a native of Edinburg and attended Edinburg North High School from 1994-1998. She graduated in the top 25 of her class with honors and went to Texas A&M University in College Station. There she graduated with a BA after majoring in Speech Communication with a Minor in English. Alamia has worked as a catering coordinator for a hotel in Austin and as a school teacher in Edinburg. Since 2012 she has assisted her father, attorney Richard R. Alamia at his law firm by becoming an Immigration Consultant, brief writer and office manager.
Alamia said one of her top platform issues is greater transparency.
“I would like to see more transparency as far as the meetings, what time they are held. They are being held at 12 noon when most of the people work, people who have an 8 to 5 job or a 9 to 5 job. A lot of these decisions are being made behind closed doors. If we want to go ahead and stipulate that we are for ethics and we are for transparency then we need to go ahead and show it by our actions,” Alamia said.
Asked why she is running for mayor, Alamia said:
“I am running for mayor because our city needs change. We have one of the highest tax rates here in the Rio Grande Valley. In the city, this meeting (was held) to go ahead and increase it, people don’t realize that is exactly right. One, the tax rate goes down, and the appraisals go up, or vice versa.”
Alamia said she plans to meet with Mission Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas this week. Salinas won an award from the OWLS watchdog group this week for his opposition to a healthcare district.
“I think it is very important because he (Salinas) is a working mayor. I really would like us to go ahead and collaborate and do things that are more beneficial for the taxpayers of Edinburg, and not just the needs of the few. To meet everyone’s needs. I also want to bring transparency, ethics reform and tax collaboration to the city of Edinburg,” Alamia said.
Alamia said anyone looking at the City of Edinburg’s performance in recent years would see there is a “foundational problem.” She said this can be overcome by getting back to basics.
“It is great that we have the Toros stadium and we are getting the Vipers stadium. But when people cannot even get paved alleys or if they are annexed and they are not able to get the full services that they are paying as taxpayers, that draws a red flag. We all pay the same amount of taxes so we should all be given the same amount of needs and services,” Alamia said.
Asked if she had any other comments about the November election, Alamia said: “Just that I am looking forward to this campaign. I have learned a lot and I continue to learn a lot. I hope everybody tries to visit my website, www.voteginaalamia.com. It has my platform and everything that I plan to bring to the city of Edinburg.”