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WESLACO, RGV – Congressional District 15 candidate Vicente Gonzalez did something unusual on Wednesday – he showed up at a Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council board meeting and asked for support.

Gonzalez, an attorney from McAllen, is in the Democratic Party primary runoff. He secured 42.21 percent of the vote in a six-person primary race on March 1 and is in a runoff with Edinburg attorney Sonny Palacios, who secured 18.89 percent of the vote in the primary.

CD 15 is a bizarrely shaped district, stretching north from the Rio Grande to Seguin in Central Texas. It covers 69 percent of Hidalgo County, 83 percent of Guadalupe County, ten percent of Wilson County, as well as the counties of Brooks, Duval, Jim Hogg, Karnes and Live Oak. The seat is open because longtime incumbent Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, is not seeking re-election. There are two Republican Party candidates in the runoff, U.S. Army veteran Tim Westley and former Rio Grande City Mayor Rubén Villarreal.

The LRGVDC is the official Council of Government for Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy counties. It is the conduit for much of the federal and state funding that comes to the three counties. Its board of directors consists largely of elected officials from cities in the three counties. The presidency is usually rotated among the mayors of the bigger cities. This year the president is McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. The LRGVDC board of directors meet each month at the RGV Transportation Center in Weslaco. The board does not give political endorsements.

There is always a slot of the LRGVDC agenda for reports from the legislative delegation. Perhaps Gonzalez will give such a report in the future. For now, though, he spoke in the public comment period. He said he did not want to take up much time.

“Thank you, Mayor Darling. I want to thank everyone for allowing me to speak here. My name is Vicente Gonzalez. I have met a lot of friendly faces here today. I have met you in the past. If I haven’t, I would like to introduce myself. I am a candidate for U.S. Congress. I am in a runoff race on May 24. I want to tell you a little bit about myself and hopefully ask for your support,” Gonzalez said.

“I am from McAllen. I have been practicing law there for two decades. I am a business owner here in the Rio Grande Valley. I am new to politics. This is the first time I have ever run. We won our primary race. We had a very successful run, we won by 23 percent. We have a runoff coming up, May 24.

“So, I would like to ask for your support. I would like to get to know you guys individually, to talk about issues. I would be happy to meet with you one on one outside of this venue. I do not want to take up much of your time. I know you have a full agenda. But, we have a runoff May 24. The 16th to 20th is our early vote. I would like to ask for your support and, hopefully, continue this conversation. Vicente Gonzalez. Thank you very much.”

There was polite applause from many of the LRGVDC directors.

Asked afterwards why he came to the COG meeting, Gonzalez told the Rio Grande Guardian:

“I know a good number of the mayors. This is an important agency to have communication with. I want to work with the council of government to get them the resources they need.”

Asked how his campaign is going, Gonzalez said: “I won 78 percent of precincts in Hidalgo County. Support is growing every day.” Gonzalez said that in about a week’s time he would be unveiling a number of endorsements from elected officials in Hidalgo County.