The people have spoken.
The city of San Juan will have four more years of Mayor Mario Garza after he won a very close race in Saturday’s runoff election.
Garza won his mayoral seat by a margin of 33 votes, defeating former Place 3 Commissioner Jesus “Jesse” Ramirez. Garza received 1,574 votes, or 50.53% of the total votes, while Ramirez received 1,541, or 49.47%.
“I knew what we were up against,” Garza said. “There was about five factions coming together as one team to come against us. I knew that we needed to work very hard during this campaign. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as I planned — how I wanted the other two commissioners to get voted in, but I’ll go ahead and take it. I want to thank the people for reelecting me again to serve another term.”
Garza said that he is excited to continue working on the many projects he has planned for the city.
“I’m ready to get back to work,” Garza said. “I’m ready to hit the ground running. I’ve got a lot of development coming in down the pipeline to our great city of San Juan. I’m going to continue working on our street projects throughout the city, as well as my next main goal— to lower the property tax for all our citizens.”
Ernesto “Neto” Guajardo will retain his Place 2 seat on the city commission after defeating challenger R.C. Flores. Guajardo received a total of 1,789 votes, or 57.47% of the vote, over Flores’s 1,324, or 42.53%.
Guajardo said that he plans to be vocal on the commission regardless of who controls the majority.
“I think the people spoke,” Guajardo said. “They want us to go forward. They like my ideas. Unfortunately, I probably won’t have the majority, but people are going to hear me.”
He attributed his victory to walking the streets of San Juan and visiting with his constituents. He said that the results of this election are indicative of the want for change in the city.
“I’ll be working with whoever’s on the city commission,” Guajardo said. “I’m going to voice my opinion and go forward, and try to help the people of the city as much as I can. Even though I won’t have the majority, they’ll still hear me.”
Adina “Dina” Santillan defeated Nickie Ybarra in the race for Ramirez’s former seat. Santillan earned a total of 1,649 votes, or 53.14% of the vote, while Ybarra earned 1,454 votes, or 46.86%.
Santillan, who campaigned with Ramirez and Flores described her victory as bittersweet given the results of the other two races.
“We had our team, and two of the three won,” Santillan said. “I wouldn’t be here without Jesse (Ramirez). Jesse asked me to join his team, and I’m proud to have been on his team. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
The newly elected commissioner said that she is proud of the clean campaign that she ran, and she is excited to get to work for the citizens of San Juan.
“We’re a five-member board, so let’s just see where we sit and what we can agree and disagree with,” Santillan said. “At the end of the day, I want to stick with what I said we would do, and that’s doing what’s best for the people of San Juan. We’re not here for ourselves. We don’t get paid for this. I joined this to be here for the people and be their voice. That’s what I plan to do — do what’s best for the city in all aspects, for the people, for the workers, for the employees of the city and for the businesses as well.
“I definitely plan to work hard for the people of San Juan.”