Post Classifieds

Mayor Hopefuls Go Back to School

By Tina Gomez
On November 20, 2014

Thanks to Texas A&M International’s Student Government Association (SGA), students on campus were able to sit in on a special Mayoral debate held on October 23rd in the Student Center Ballroom that evening at 8pm. Mayoral candidates participating in the debate included Guadalupe Botello, Roland S Herrera, Jose Durantes Jr, Pete Saenz, James Joel Newland, Cindy Liendo and Jerry Garza.

A total of eight questions were submitted by TAMIU’s SGA and the Laredo National Rotary Club. Out of the eight questions prepared, four were chosen at random to be answered by the selected candidates. Each contender was then given the opportunity to answer why they were running for mayor and why it would be an honor to serve their constituents. The debate went quickly underway as the panel gave their brief introductions.

The first question that kicked off the debate was, “If you believe that a thriving university is important to our civic development, how might the city council support activities TAMIU.” Liendo, having been picked at random, expressed her enthusiasm regarding the proposed TAMIU sports complex that is on the ballot this year. She believes that “proposition 1” will be beneficial to the community and ensures that as mayor she will be, “making sure that as a community we come together to make the best decisions”.

Propostion 1 as outlined on the TAMIU website ( would authorize the use of accumlated taxes from the community to build upon land on school grounds. If passed, facilities would include, eight baseball fields, four softball fields, four youth fields, twenty-one tennis courts, and other amenities.

Among the various other topics up for debate, candidates weighed in on some of the more pressing issues on voters minds such as Laredo’s economy. “When comparing the city of McAllen’s published budget to Laredo, one [can] see that in Laredo there is no money allocated to economic development while McAllen allocates 5% of its budget to economic development...Is this something we can change?” Botello was given the chance to retort by assuring residents, that he understands why McAllen has a higher economic development. He believes that the majority of residents from Mexico’s “frontera” prefer to shop in the valley because of its diverse shopping choices. He also reiterated that he is in full support of Laredo’s advances for the new shopping outlets in the downtown area that will not only cater to shoppers but will enable local job growth. Botello said, “I [feel] really-really strong about The Portal. The Portal is going to bring a number of jobs and it is going to improve the ability for some people to have jobs that are sustainable. I believe in those 13,000 jobs -- and some of these students will fill those jobs”.

The Portal, formally known to many Laredoan’s as River Drive Mall, will be at the epicenter of Laredo’s high traffic downtown area. The indoor shopping outlets have been all buzz since its inception in 2005. However, according to the sites Wikipedia page (, delays in the project were said to be in part of bad publicity due to the violence on our cities border. The project will near its completion later in 2015 and will include retailers such as Adidas, Bose, and Coach to name a few.

One other hot topic --not so long forgotten was brought up regarding the comments made by Texas’ attorney general, Greg Abbott, in which he tackles on the waves of corruption by local city official in South Texas. In a video recorded speech taken from February earlier this year Abbott said, “The creeping corruption resembles third-world country practices that erode the social fabric of our communities and destroy Texan’s trust in government.” The contenders were asked to weigh in on the comments made by the GOP governor hopeful and this is what Saenz had to say in response,

“It seems like every week there is a scandal in Laredo and I think that statement is very accurate as it pertains to [us]... The people of Laredo deserve better, --honor and dignity from their public officials. I’m very much in favor of background checks. I am the only [candidate] that is advocating for them to expand the auditors position in the city of Laredo... This ends now.”

Currently, there have been several city councilmen that are fighting corruption charges here in Laredo. Most recently, Webb County commissioner Mike Montemayor was arrested for bribery charges. Montemayor faces two counts of bribery by a federal court for promising to use his position in office to make deals with “friends”. Corruption has been a problem in Laredo for many years a legacy that dates back former mayor J.C Martin who is synonymous with the term, “The Patron System”. For a more comprehensive timeline on city corruption for 2014 alone, readers can visit local political blog here. (

    As the evening wrapped up, each contender was given 90 seconds to give their closing statements. Each runner thanked the community for coming out to the debate and each for the communities’ vote in hopes to be the next Mayor of Laredo. The Bridge would like to thank voters for their efforts in making an informed decision in this years mayoral election.

For questions, comments, or more information about this article Tina Gomez can be reached at


Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly

More thebridgenewspaper News Articles

Recent thebridgenewspaper News Articles

Discuss This Article





Log In

or Create an account

Employers & Housing Providers

Employers can list job opportunities for students

Post a Job

Housing Providers can list available housing

Post Housing

Log In

Forgot your password?

Your new password has been sent to your email!

Logout Successful!

Please Select Your College/University:

You just missed it! This listing has been filled.

Post your own housing listing on Uloop and have students reach out to you!

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format