Three candidates are running to be the next Edinburg council member for Place 2 in the city’s upcoming elections in November, all of whom are running on their business experience.
The three candidates include Moises Segovia, Jason De Leon, and Ruben “Bubba” Palacios, who are campaigning to replace former Councilmember Gilbert Enriquez, who resigned in March and who is now running for mayor.
Segovia, 36, is the owner of an emergency management services company, Life Star EMS, and has served on the city’s airport advisory board since July.
One of the reasons he decided to run for the position was because he felt a sense of duty after taking a leadership course with the city in 2018.
“I wanted to give to my community,” Segovia said.
But in the wake of the freeze in February, flooding last year, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he felt the city could have been better prepared for disaster.
“So as an ambulance owner, I decided, ‘you know what, I’m going to run so I could help the city of Edinburg become a proactive city when it comes to disasters,'” he said, adding that he wants the city to focus on having the proper infrastructure for emergency preparedness.
“We should have an Edinburg disaster response team and that’s something I would want us to bring to the table and start discussing,” he said.
He also wanted the city to evaluate the advisory boards to make sure they have the right people there, and to evaluate the digital infrastructure in place.
As to why he is qualified for the role, Segovia highlighted his experience as a business owner, which he said prepared him to make the tough decisions that a councilmember would have to make.
Additionally, he stressed that he was an “everyday person” — a father, a cancer survivor and someone who’s around the community.
“I want people to know that I’m approachable,” Segovia said. “I want people to know that they could come to me and share … either ideas or concerns of the city and we need that right now.”
De Leon, 33, is a loan officer at Willow Bend Mortgage in McAllen who said he’s been in public service through his work at his family’s business, Memorial Funeral Home, where he’s now the funeral director.
He said he worked there since he was a child, getting to know several members of the community, but he wanted to serve the public in a different way. As a young man in his 20s, he knew he would eventually run for city council.
Enriquez’s resignation provided that opportunity for him to finally do so this year. Before announcing his run, he served on the city’s zoning board of adjustments for about six years.
If he were to be elected, he said he wanted to focus on drainage and the revitalization of downtown, which he acknowledged the current council already seemed to be working on.
For the short-term, he wants to focus on alley clean-ups and more efficiency in issuing building permits. He added he also wants to ensure that the city maintains their police force and that their officers are among the highest paid in the state.
He said that while he comes from a family of public service, his family was not political — a distinction he felt was important because it means he doesn’t come from an established political faction.
His business experience as a loan officer, funeral director and as the owner of a management company also qualified him for the position, he said.
“So I’m able to wear different hats and I feel like that separates me from the other candidates,” De Leon added.
Palacios, 55, is an insurance agent who runs First Choice Insurance in Edinburg.
Though he never served in an elected position, Palacios said he worked with the city’s parks and recreation department and with the Boys & Girls Club for about 36 years.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes in the city, good changes, and now seen it come to a halt,” Palacios said, adding that he felt like the city wasn’t pushing to bring industrial and commercial businesses to Edinburg.
Palacios said he wanted to run for office to build a better future for his grandchildren, which included bringing those businesses and addressing the city’s drainage issues.
“Once you start seeing your town not going forward, not moving forward, coming to halt, and we’re still having the same issues we’ve had for a long time, that’s what really motivated me to come into running for this position,” he said.
Another important issue Palacios addressed is ensuring that taxes are not raised and to work on possibly lowering them.
Aside from running his insurance agency, Palacios also works for Riverside Development in McAllen, a position he took to learn about the infrastructal component of subdivisions such as drainage systems.
He previously also ran his family’s business, South Texas Concrete, for 22 years until it was sold in 2007.
That business experience, he said, qualified him to serve on the city council.
But if voters wanted to see any change in the city, Palacios said they need to vote come Election Day.
“Just come out to vote,” he said. “If they want to see change, if they want to see somebody that’s going to work hard for them and really knows what business is, come vote.”