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Edinburg mayoral candidates discuss business, taxes during debate

2 months 4 days 6 hours ago Friday, September 24 2021 Sep 24, 2021 September 24, 2021 8:16 AM September 24, 2021 in Election Coverage

It was more than an hour of back-to-back questions Thursday night in Edinburg as residents got the chance to see their mayoral candidates in action before voters head to the polls in just six weeks.

Two candidates — each with a strong background in business and ties to public service within the city— are challenging current mayor Richard Molina for his seat.

The debate, held by the nonprofit Village in the Valley, or Viva, gave candidates the platform to expand on the city’s economy and future.

According to July 2021 campaign reports, candidate Ramiro Garza has raised the most political contributions.

“I believe we need change in our city," Garza said. "I have — I believe — the most experience to help lead the city in a new, prosperous direction. I’m not a politician, I’m just a person who has over 20 years experience — a man of integrity — man of highest ethical values and I believe right now we need that in our city.”

Garza highlighted his experience as a city manager, stating that Edinburg should increase their partnerships with UTRGV and laid out the concept of a 20-year plan for the city.

“I believe that’s one of the best ways for our community to, at least, address some of the most pressing needs, but at the same time, look to the future as to what we need to do to prepare for our community,” Garza said.

In terms of campaign contributions, Gilberto Enriquez has raised the least, describing himself as a leader with experience in budgeting and finance.

“If we provide the skilled workforce, you will have companies relocate to the city of Edinburg,” Enriquez said. 

Enriquez introduced a specific roadmap that he says could lower the tax rate in the city by ten percent.

“We haven’t decreased our tax rate by over 20 years," Enriquez said. "And to me, that’s unacceptable. With the amount of growth that we’ve had — the amount of new homes we’ve been building, and the amount of businesses that have come in, there is no reason for us to be at 68 cents."

Current Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina did not attend the debate, with the moderator reaffirming that he was invited.

There were questions that brought attention to Molina’s indictments in connection to voter fraud, but the two candidates instead focused on themselves, each pushing for government transparency and even that executive sessions should be recorded for the public.

Molina was not able to attend because he had a meet and greet at a Buffalo Wild Wings during the same time.

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