3 Edinburg mayoral candidates debate in virtual forum
With less than a week before the start of early voting, candidates vying for the position of mayor in the city of Edinburg participated in a virtual debate on Wednesday.
Mayor Richard Molina joined in the conversation, addressing the ongoing legal charges he's still facing. Earlier this week, the Hidalgo County District Attorney filed for a motion seeking a jury trial in Molina's voter fraud case. Molina said that the case is a personal attack.
“There’s been an establishment here in Edinburg,” Molina said. “One family that has controlled politics for about 20-plus years. This is something that — that it goes straight to the DA’s office. This is a political witch hunt that I have said time and time again that this family’s been after me from the very beginning. I will not allow myself to be bullied by this family, and the second part, I am completely innocent and I look forward to the day that I get vindicated.”
Both challengers, Gilberto Enriquez and Ramiro Garza, say that Molina’s ongoing legal trouble is not the reason they’re looking for the mayor’s seat. Enriquez, a former city councilor, is instead pushing to lower the city’s now already-set tax rate and hoping for an even playing field for companies that receive contract work from the city.
“You have certain developers, certain businesses that are receiving tax payer money and I don’t believe that it should be only for certain individuals,” Enriquez said. “The opportunity should be for every developer, every business here in Edinburg to thrive. And of course, the tax rate.”
The discussion ended with participants asking their opponents questions of their own.
Former Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, who has been running with the slogan of a fresh start, was asked by Molina if he is willing to stand up against the family he claims is harassing him. Garza’s answer was a resounding yes, adding that he believes the public is tired of labels.
“People want leadership that is going to represent the city as a whole,” Garza said. “My record as serving as EDC director, city manager, I think speaks for itself in terms of the work that I did and representing the best interest of the city. So for me, it’s about leading the entire city and doing the right thing for the city and something — that’s how I was raised, and that’s how I will govern.”
Early voting begins on Monday.
See the entire debate below.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Ramiro Garza as Ron Garza.
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