Election

Macias-Rodriguez elected Socorro mayor

SOCORRO, Texas - Former District 2 City Representative Gloria Macias Rodriguez ousted incumbent Mayor Jesus Ruiz Tuesday night.

Macias Rodriguez received 2,365 votes, about 38%.

Ruiz has 1,542 votes, about 25%.

All precincts have reported.

RECENT ISSUES FOR THE CITY

One recent major development in the city was the groundbreaking of a flood control project. This February, the $400,000 project began to help residents with flood control. An arroyo will be lined with 600 feet of concrete. The addition is expected to save on time trying to fight the natural erosion that happens every time it rains. The project was paid through funds raised through grants.

Another big project for the city was the overhaul of a dirt road that could bring better connectivity for drivers in the city. Plans for the road had been in the making for more than a decade.

Construction is set to begin on Old Hueco Tanks Road which will connect Interstate 10 to Socorro, giving drivers another route to get in and out of the city. Eastlake Boulevard, north of the freeway, will turn into Old Hueco Tanks Rd. south of I-10.

Old Hueco Tanks will be turned into a four-lane road with sidewalks and bike lanes.

The $9 million project will take one to two years to transform the once private property into a public thoroughfare. Socorro officials purchased the land from owners and donated it for the project. Most of the project will be paid for with the county's vehicle registration fee of $10.

It will be up to Socorro, property owners and developers to build more homes and businesses in the area. The city has authority to designate residential and commercial zones. Mayor Ruiz has said he wants to the development of more shopping centers around Socorro. He said the expansion of Old Hueco Tanks Rd., with the addition of bike lanes, will allow more bicyclists and tourists to travel the Mission Trail.

Some are concerned the road will bring more traffic, disrupting the rather quiet area. But other residents said they will deal with it, adding that it's just part of the growing pains of the city.

Mayor Ruiz said there are no immediate plans to add more businesses along Old Hueco Tanks Rd. Any proposals would have to be approved by Socorro's city council.

MAYOR RUIZ

Mayor Ruiz was elected into office in May of 2013. He holds a B.A in History from New Mexico State University and currently works as a Case Manager for Southwest Key Programs. Mayor Ruiz believes that Socorro has great potential and strives to do his best to represent the people of our City.

Back in 2013, Ruiz told ABC-7 Socorro had been filled with scandals and that resident's morale was low. He ran because he wanted to provide change to Socorro and leave behind a troubled past. He said the Gandara family had embarrassed Socorro, and that the relationship between government and the people of Socorro had become strained.

Ruiz replaced former Mayor Trinidad "Trini" Lopez, who resigned from office in October of 2012. Lopez told ABC-7 he did not want to continue being mayor until certain amendments were made to the city charter, regarding "extended terms in office" for city representatives. He said the city was breaking election laws by extending his and other terms without letting voters decide.

In an undated letter posted on the City of Socorro website, city officials state their extension of term limits were in compliance.

Then Mayor Pro-Tem Mary Garcia, questioned the timing of Lopez's resignation, adding that city council was about to look into conflicts of interest regarding Lopez's "inappropriate business practices."


GLORIA RODRIGUEZ

Rodriguez is currently the District 2 representative. She has lived in Socorro her entire life and has experienced the needs of the community throughout that time.

She was a volunteer on the Socorro Civil Service Commission for 9 years before she decided to run for Council. Representative Rodriguez is honored to serve the City of Socorro and looks forward to continuing that service as mayor.

Rodriguez has also previously served as Mayor Pro-Tem for Socorro.

In early 2013 as Mayor Pro-Tem, she denied wrong-doing by extending election terms without voter input, something previous Mayor Trini Lopez had accused representatives of.

In 2013, She and other council members voted to amend the city charter to comply with Senate Bill 100, the bill that led to the extension of their term limits. Under the bill, if a city council is going to extend term limits, it must also amend the city charter, which it did.

She told ABC-7 then that "They have wrongly accused us of being corrupt but I don't know what they are all talking about because we don't know what the corruption is about."

That week, the City of Socorro looked into solutions to make sure Rodriguez and two other council members did not violate the Texas Constitution.

Rodriguez, Maria Reyes and Mary Garcia were set to serve four and a half years because back in 2010, council voted to extend their terms that far ahead.

Then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the three council members could potentially be in violation of the State Constitution if they were to serve their entire term, something the city said it did not know the three reps were unauthorized to do.

Rodriguez ran for District 2 in 2013 and won.

Rodriguez resigned as city representative this summer to run for mayor.


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