EL PASO, Texas - Henry Rivera has ousted incumbent City Representative Lily Limon in the race for the City Council District 7 seat. With more that 70 percent of precincts reporting, Saucedo has received 62 percent of the vote while Limon only received 38 percent.
Rivera is an officer with the El Paso Police Department. "Our current representative is under criminal investigation, and that was another issue that brought me to run for this district. So, as a sworn officer and her as a sworn elected official, I feel that was a major part of our concern. And because of that people have lost trust in the city council," Rivera said.
Mayor Oscar Leeser and city Reps. Lily Limon, Cortney Niland, Jim Tolbert and Peter Svarzbein are accused of walking in and out of meetings with advocates of Duranguito neighborhood residents seeking to convince city officials to spare the area of demolition to make way for a $180 million arena. District Attorney Jaime Esparza has referred the case to the Texas Rangers for investigation.
Limon had denied any wrongdoing. "If I were to pick one project citywide that I think is critical is the resolution of the arena one way or another. We are hammered with a lot of issues that are coming as a result. I believe it is the same type of issue that divided this community with the stadium four years ago. In District 7, I can tell you that I want to see all of the quality-of-life projects completed as soon as we can possibly do that," Limon said.
Rivera said if he is elected, he will work to keep taxes low and restore trust and respect to the city council.
"If elected, I plan to open up a satellite office to meet with the constituents here, work after hours and make myself available to them. And of course bring that trust and respect to District 7, as well as the city of El Paso because that criminal investigation really is a dark cloud over the city right now," Rivera said.
Limon said her experience makes her the best candidate for the job. "I think that education and knowledge are going to be the big factors in my favor. I am a proud graduate of UTEP with a bachelors and a masters degree. And then the experience of four years knowing the process that people follow, knowing the key personnel in order to make the projects move forward," Limon said.
One thing they agreed on: District 7 is in dire need of streets repairs, and both promise to make that a priority.
"I've lived here for the last 30 years. Our streets are deplorable. Potholes and patchwork. I've found out that streets have gone unpaved for 43 years, I think the least years were 30 years that streets have not been paved. Some people don't even have sidewalks," Rivera said.
"Have the city manager really focus on the street infrastructure. This is no surprise. Four years ago the number one issue was streets. This year, it's the same thing. We have these certificates of obligation that were committed, but we are not pushing them fast enough. We are not making these things a reality for the folks," Limon said.