HARLINGEN, Texas – Candidates from across the Rio Grande Valley are starting to file to run in the various city council and commission elections that take place in May.

One of them is Robert Leftwich, the former city commissioner for Harlingen. He is running for District 3, arguing that his experience and knowledge would be invaluable at city hall.

Robert Leftwich

“Years of skyrocketing property taxes to cover wasteful city hall spending have negatively affected families and small businesses in Harlingen,” Leftwich told the Rio Grande Guardian. “I want to help the leadership to enhance policies to streamline administrative costs and to enhance taxpayer investment with a more lucrative economic development strategy.”

Leftwich said he feels property tax dependency can be reduced, while still addressing much neglected infrastructure needs such as drainage and roads.

“I ask the voters of District 3 to allow me to be a strong voice on the City Commission to advocate for citizens and not for special interests at taxpayers’ expense. If you agree that Harlingen needs fundamental changes at City Hall, please consider supporting me in May to become your next City Commissioner. It is a time for a change in Harlingen,” Leftwich said.

Omar Quintanilla

Omar Quintanilla, the current McAllen City Commissioner for District 3, is seeking re-election in May. He said he has provided leadership in promoting small businesses in McAllen and was a driving force in providing much needed assistance for small businesses to sustain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Omar Quintanilla

Quintanilla is a senior vice president of corporate banking at Frost Bank. He said his past experience serving on the McAllen Community Development Block Grant Advisory board, among other boards, has helped him gain insight into the effective delivery of funds or services to meet the needs of McAllen.   

“I have been a strong advocate of issues relating to improving drainage, beautifying and creating safer neighborhoods, small business assistance and economic development opportunities,” Quintanilla told the Rio Grande Guardian. “I seek re-election so I can meet my progressive agenda for the benefit of District 3 and the City of McAllen.”

Quintanilla listen some of the projects and programs he supported during his first term:

  • * Drainage projects in District 3 and throughout McAllen to reduce flooding
  • * Creation of parks and walking trails for health and wellness
  • * Small business grants to support local business that have been hurt by the pandemic
  • * Wifi access so that students can remain connected and residents can stay productive
  • * Improving safety in our neighborhoods and throughout the District

“I will continue to bring my skills in finance to the table. This has proven invaluable in the development of assistance for businesses in McAllen as well as during the City budgeting process,” Quintanilla said. “In an effort to connect with my district I will maintain strong accessibility for citizens and communicate both through regular ‘Town Hall’ meetings.”

Veronica Vela Whitacre

A candidate running for mayor of McAllen is Veronica Vela Whitacre, currently McAllen City Commissioner for District 6.

Veronica Vela Whitacre

“I grew up in McAllen, attending schools here, working here and raising my family here. I have been an active and engaged member of this city along with my family, which has also been a part of the history of McAllen for over 70 years,” Vela Whitacre said.

“For many years, prior to becoming commissioner I served my community on various civic and organizational boards. These opportunities as a leader and my tenure on the commission for three terms has given me invaluable experiences and prepared me to be the next mayor of McAllen.”

Vela Whitacre added: “I want to continue the momentum of growth and development that we have. I am a part of its history, its present and committed to its future. I humbly ask for your support to keep McAllen moving as your next mayor.”

Pepe Cabeza de Vaca

Masked candidate Pepe Cabeza de Vaca stands alongside a campaign yard sign with supporter Omar Guevara.

Pepe Cabeza de Vaca is running again for McAllen City Commission District 6. He previously ran, unsuccessfully, for the seat when it was held by Jim Darling.

“I have served on our city’s Planning and Zoning Commission for 11 years, five of those as chairman. I have over 20 years of business experience and 17 years serving on various nonprofit and civic boards,” Cabeza de Vaca said.

“I offer all of this knowledge, experience and my passion to serve our community. These qualities define how I live and how I will dedicate myself to District 6 and to our city. Let’s move our city forward. I am ready to serve our families and our beloved City of McAllen.”

Editor’s Note: The Rio Grande Guardian wishes to hear from ALL the candidates running in the May city elections. Please send your guest columns, news releases and videos to: [email protected]

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