MISSION, RGV – In an announcement that may surprise some, longtime Mission Mayor Norberto ‘Beto’ Salinas tells the Rio Grande Guardian he is running for re-election.

Salinas, aged 70, was first elected mayor in 1998. It was thought he might retire. But, he said, he has been asked by supporters to keep going. The Mission city council election is next May.

“I am running for mayor. I really wanted to retire this year. But somehow, they get you involved and they get you excited and they said they wanted me to run again and I said, okay,” Salinas said.

Asked who “they” were, Salinas said: “The administration and people in town who want me to stay on another term. We had a meeting in Mission and we had about 150 people and they all wanted us to do it all again. They want continuity. They are afraid if someone else comes in they will make a lot of changes. This is not the time to make the changes.”

Salinas, a rancher and land developer, said there are a lot of big projects currently underway and he wants to see them through to completion. “We have the Madero Bridge project, and all the manufacturing projects we are working on. These are exciting times for Mission.”

Salinas added: “It is hard to have someone else come in and put enough time into growing our area. I am feeling fit and healthy. Hopefully, this will be my last one.”

Asked about the Madero International Bridge project, Salinas said: “This will help us create jobs and also bring us loaded trailers from Mexico. We are waiting for the results of a feasibility study. The Mexican side has done their study. Ours should be ready in the next few months. It will probably say we need the bridge. For me, I did not need a study. I know the need is there.”

The Madero Bridge would be just upstream from Anzalduas International Bridge. Salinas said its focus would be truck traffic.

“It is taking too long to move trucks over the Pharr Bridge. There is something wrong in Pharr. I have not looked into it but whatever they are doing on the south side of the Pharr Bridge is delaying a lot of trailers. We can help alleviate this,” Salinas said.

“It is a long-term project. It will take us three or four years but it is going to be worth it. The maquilas want it desperately. For some reason, we have not been able to do it as fast as I would have liked to. But, we are making progress. The study on the Mexican side is very positive. Talking to the new governor in Tamaulipas, he wants to build it on his side. He is talking to the federal government.”