MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — After nearly three years of holding the District Four Commissioner seat, Tania Ramirez vacated the position to run for Hidalgo County Judge.

With that vacancy, a special election will take place and there are three candidates on the ballot for District 4 City Commission. They are Pablo D. Garcia, Javier Salazar, and Rodolfo “Rudy” Castillo.

Salazar, a current realtor with Medina Real Estate, told ValleyCentral in all his years of residing in district four, he thinks there is a lack of police presence which raises his concern with safety, especially on the south side of the city. He is hoping to get more officers hired if elected.

Salazar has also served on numerous boards which allows him to bring a “unique perspective and experience of appropriating money, tax money.”

Castillo has resided in McAllen for 45 years. He believes because of his long-term residency, he is best suited for the position as he has been able to see what his district needs most for decades.

“I know a lot of necessities for our neighborhoods, especially security, cleanups, and we need more security in our parks,” said Castillo.

Castillo added drainage within the district needs also more attention as there are “problems with sewage and flooding.” He’s hoping to continue attracting large corporate businesses to district four as well to promote the economy.

Garcia agreed with the need for more security and drainage, but also wants to focus on local businesses.

Garcia is a co-founder and treasurer for Camara de Comercio Internacional or the International Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit aimed at helping small businesses. He said they support more than 295 local businesses and believes that to be the most important area he wants to focus on.

Despite coming from different backgrounds, each candidate said they chose to run for this office to make a much-needed difference and to add a sense of security to their community.

Salazar asks voters in District 4 to vote for him as he’s willing to fight for his community assertively. He also thinks he will be the type of city commissioner his district has never seen before.

Garcia said being pro-law enforcement, pro-family, and pro-business will hopefully draw people to vote for him. “I’m ready. I’m ready to work with the other elected officials.”

As for Castillo, he said although he would like everyone to vote for him, he just wants the community to come and participate in their local election. Win or lose, he knows either himself or the other two candidates will make a positive impact.

However, Castillo believes he is the “perfect candidate” for the job because he will try to provide for the needs of every citizen in his district.

Early voting in this election will end Tuesday, Jan. 18.

The city has three voting locations:

  • Firemans Pump House at 201 N. First St.
  • Palm View Community Center at 3401 Jordan Ave.
  • Lark Community Center at 2601 Lark Ave.

Voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballot at any of these locations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The official election day will be Saturday, Jan. 22 with extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. as well.

When heading to a polling location, you will need to bring an ID of any kind with you. Poll workers will run your information through their system to ensure you are a resident of district four.

To also ensure there is no fraudulent voting of any kind, the city has set up all ballots to be electronic.

As of the morning of Jan. 17, McAllen reported to ValleyCentral only having 303 votes in the early election out of 10,541 registered voters in district four alone.

The city of McAllen asks voters to wear a mask and try their best to socially distance themselves while voting.