By FRANCISCO E. JIMENEZ
From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 10, citizens who did not partake in early voting will have the opportunity to cast their votes for their candidates in both the San Benito City Commission and San Benito CISD School Board elections.
As previously reported, a grand total of 3,092 ballots were cast during early voting this year – a combination of 1,741 votes for the SBCISD races and 1,351 for the Commission contests. The early voting turnout alone has reportedly shattered records set in prior elections, which is what many consider a reflection of the abounding interest in San Benito politics.
In the race for the SBCISD Board of Trustees, Place 4 incumbent June Aguilera faces challenger Arnold Padilla, a former City Commissioner and current executive director of the San Benito Housing Authority.
Pl. 5 incumbent Hector Leal vies for reelection against challengers Joyce Aguirre, an employee with U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Roberto “Bobby” Benavides, who works for the City of San Benito; and Rene Salinas, a teacher in Progreso.
Oscar Medrano, Pl. 6 incumbent, also seeks reelection but faces opposition in Orlando “Papas” Lopez, a radiology manager.
Like Leal, Pl. 7 incumbent Julian Huerta will be facing three challengers in Angel Mendez, a college readiness specialist; Esteban “Steve” Rodriguez, a businessowner; and Gilbert Weaver, a retired school district truancy officer, former City fire chief and ex-City Commissioner.
SBCISD polling locations are as follows:
• Precinct 17 – La Encantada Elementary School, 35001 FM 1577, San Benito;
• Precincts 18, 22, 89 and 90 – Fire Station, 1201 S. Sam Houston, San Benito;
• Precincts 19, 21, 44 and 50 – Community Building, 210 E. Heywood, San Benito;
• Precinct 23 – Rangerville Elementary School, 17558 Landrum Park Road, San Benito;
• Precincts 25, 88 – Los Indios School, 5th Street and Heywood Los Indios;
• Precincts 40 and 91 – Fred Booth Elementary School, 705 Zaragosa, San Benito;
• Precinct 51 – La Paloma School, 35076 Main St., San Benito.
City races include Mayor Joe H. Hernandez facing a former Commissioner in Celeste Z. Sanchez, who recently announced her retirement as the SBCISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.
Pl. 1 City Commissioner Antonio “Tony” Gonzales vies for reelection against Joe F. Rodriguez, a former budget consultant and computer, mainframe, systems and pricing analyst.
Rene Villafranco, Pl. 2 City Commissioner, will be challenged by local business owner and former EDC board member Shirley Vega.
According to San Benito City Secretary Lupita Passement, who also serves as the municipality’s election officer, the Community Building at 210 E. Heywood St. in San Benito will be the only polling location for the City Commission election. Inside this weekend’s edition of the San Benito News is an article submitted by the City of San Benito detailing the decision that led to establishing a single poll for the municipal races.
In the City of Rio Hondo general election, Pl. 3 incumbent Gerald Hartzog faces ex-Mayor Alonzo Garza. Pl. 1 incumbent Juan Garza and Pl. 5 incumbent Joseph Lopez are running unopposed.
Citizens of Rio Hondo can vote at the Rio Hondo Public Library, located at 121 N. Arroyo Blvd.