HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Early voting is now underway for the March Primary Elections. One of the biggest races is the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office. Current DA Ricardo Rodriguez will not be seeking re-election.

ValleyCentral spoke one on one with each candidate in the Democratic Primary Election to find out what they have planned for the county if elected District Attorney.

San Juan Municipal Court Judge Nereida Lopez-Singleterry tells ValleyCentral she wants to be the next District Attorney to keep Hidalgo County safe from crime and to improve the legal system.

“I want the legal system to work together so that we can assure that justice prevails for all in all cases that come before the District Attorney’s Office,” Singleterry said. “I represented people from all walks of life as an attorney, a Public Defender, as a Judge, we need someone that is independent. We need someone that’s going to get it done and represent all of us, not just a select few.”

On top of providing more support to victims of crimes and reducing overcrowding in jails, Singleterry also plans to tackle public corruption.

“Corruption affects our lives, affects our careers, it affects infrastructure, it affects the ways that contracts are given out for school districts, city districts. We need someone to come in here and take charge of that,” Singleterry said.

“When public corruption happens it starts at the base,” said Terry Palacios, opponent to Singleterry. ” You’re hired by those people, or they have an influence on your job so that’s something we need to try to avoid and try to educate our law enforcement.”

Palacios has also served as Edinburg’s Municipal Court Judge for the last 27 years. Palacios tells ValleyCentral his run for District Attorney also plans to address public corruption but also aims to add more major crime units to the county.

“We need to do a white-collar crimes unit, we need to do a political corruption unit, and those things I want to do but I want to go beyond that,” Palacios said.

And as the primary election draw near both candidates are urging Hidalgo County to still have faith in the legal system.

“We have a great system we just got to get great people behind it,” Palacios said. ” People with experience, people who know who has handled criminal law practice before that is what we need for Hidalgo County”

The winner of the Democratic Primary Election will face off against former prosecutor and trial lawyer Juan Tijerina who is running unopposed in the Republican Primary.