McAllen District 4 is lone contested race in May election

LEFT: Rodolfo “Rudy” Castillo, candidate for McAllen City Commissioner District 4, poses with supporters outside a polling place at the Palmview Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected]) RIGHT: Javier Salazar

Following Friday’s deadline to file for a place on the ballot, the McAllen general election in May is shaping up to be a rematch of sorts of the special election held last year.

Either for me or for the other candidate, as long as they come out and vote.

The only contested race in the McAllen May general election is for the District 4 seat on the city commission and it will pit current Commissioner Rodolfo “Rudy” Castillo, a business owner, against Javier Salazar, a real estate agent.

Castillo said that with another term, he hopes to work on ongoing projects and focus on those that weren’t done in his short term in office.

“One of the priorities is really the alleys,” Castillo said. “The other one was the lighting and the sidewalks.”

He said the city is already working on implementing sidewalks for the neighborhood of Balboa Acres.

“We just have to keep on going, try to get them finished as soon as possible,” he said.

Salazar said a lot needs to be done in the city to keep up with its rapid growth.

“I think my district has been neglected, I think there needs to be more communication with our city directors when it comes to my district,” Salazar said.

The two main issues he said need to be addressed are traffic and safety, believing there should be different police precincts like there are in larger cities.

“I think we definitely need a police substation in South McAllen just to keep up with the quality of life and the basic protection that the citizens deserve,” he said.

The basics of a democracy is that there has to be options for the people to choose.

What both candidates agree on is that there needs to be higher voter turnout.

Salazar said another reason for his campaign was the belief that citizens needed to have choices of candidates in an election.

“The basics of a democracy is that there has to be options for the people to choose,” Salazar said. “If not, in a sense, it’s not a democracy because there’s not an option.”

Castillo said he is trying to get more people to vote by educating them on why it’s important to do so.

“Either for me or for the other candidate, as long as they come out and vote,” Castillo said. “Especially now that this is just going to be an election for District 4 — because all the rest didn’t have an opponent — it’s a lot harder to get them out to vote but that’s what we’re going to work on.”

He added that if reelected, he wants to have monthly meetings with different neighborhoods in the district to encourage community involvement.

“We just need to keep the citizens informed about what’s going on too,” he said.

Castillo won a special election in February 2022 to finish out the unexpired term of then-Commissioner Tania Ramirez. Ramirez resigned from the seat to run for Hidalgo County judge.

When the city called the special election, three candidates emerged including Castillo and Salazar.

The other candidate was Pablo D. Garcia, also a businessman and co-founder of the Camara de Comercio Internacional (International Chamber of Commerce).

Garcia and Castillo received the most votes during the first round of votes in January 2022, propelling them toward a runoff election the next month. Salazar did not advance.

But Salazar is seeking the office again and, this time, he and Castillo will go head to head.

Also up for election are the District 5 and 6 seats on the city commission. However, Commissioners Victor “Seby” Haddad and Pepe Cabeza De Vaca are running unopposed for reelection.

Ricardo R. “Ric” Godinez and Albert Cardenas are also running unopposed for McAllen Utility Board trustee Place B and C, respectively.

The McAllen election is scheduled for May 6.