Candidates Battle For Gandara's Former Position
EL PASO — Voters in Texas will be heading to the polls on Tuesday for the long awaited primary election.
One of the most watched races in The Borderland is the one for the commissioner seat left vacant by former county commissioner Willie Gandara Junior after he was arrested on federal drug trafficking charges.
Former County Commissioner Willie Gandara junior's arrest left people in precinct three without a fulltime representative, and now democrats vying for the position say they are exactly what their community needs to put things back on track.
Republican Fred Chavez is running uncontested.
Candidates for the democratic ticket say the community deserves a commissioner they can trust.
"Following the arrest of commissioner Willie Gandara, people here are very disappointed and are ready for new leadership, and I think that I'm the one who will provide that leadership,” said candidate Vincent Perez.
"Give the community back the trust in government, and I've been able to gain the confidence of all of the law enforcement unions to support me and be the voice of law enforcement in the community,” said candidate Dora Oaxaca.
"I bring strong ethics. Complete transparency into Commissioners’ Court. I bring a lot of experience in the budgeting and I think that's what we need to focus is on our budgeting,” said candidate Rudy Loya.
Vincent Perez says simply being present in Commissioners’ Court is the first step towards success.
"Commissioner Gandara had the worst attendance record of anybody on Commissioners’ Court. He lost his voting privileges on The Metropolitan Planning Organization. We need somebody who is willing to work hard because the needs of the needs of this precinct are great,” said Perez.
Dora Oaxaca says she has gotten the enforcement from local law enforcement because of her investment in the community.
"I was already involved in changing the lives in a positive aspect for the many folks that live in this precinct and in other communities as well,” said Oaxaca.
If elected, Rudy Loya believes investment in the community's infustructure will help improve the quality of life for residents.
"I know for a fact that our community needs its parks to be worked on. They've been abandoned for so long. There hasn't been any kind of cleaning, any kind of renovation to it,” said Loya.
Perez used to work for Congressman Silveste Reyes. He says working on the federal level taught him how to make positive change.
"My federal experience gives me the ability to have a broad range of knowledge on issues that are very pertinent to this precinct ranging from whether it be education, healthcare, business, economic development,” said Perez.
Loya and Oaxaca both say they are planning their agenda if voters select them for the seat.
"We cannot continue to just increase our taxes just because we are misspending money. So budgeting is my forte,” said Loya.
"Be able to develop the process of being able to call in any kind of corruption, criminal activity without having the fear,” said Oaxaca.
State Representative Chente Quintanilla is also running in the democratic primary for commissioner in the same precinct. Quintanilla didn't return our call to participate in this story. We plan on hearing from Quintanilla on Tuesday.