HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Wednesday Norma Sepulveda was sworn into office as the city of Harlingen’s new and first female mayor.
“I hope that this inspires young girls all over the Rio Grande Valley and all over the state of Texas,” she said. She beat incumbent Mayor Chris Boswell 3,659 to 2,388 votes.
“Mayor Boswell gave 18 years, actually 24 years, of municipal government service to the citizens of Harlingen,” said Sepulveda. “I think we’re ready to turn the page and move forward and build on the good things and improve on the things we need to improve on.”
One item Mayor Sepulveda wants to prioritize is improving business opportunities in Harlingen. To do that, she said she is creating a small business board.
“We’ve had this reputation that Harlingen is not open for business but we want people to know that that’s changed, that’s changed today,” said the mayor.
Harlingen City Manager Gabriel Gonzalez said he looks forward to working with Sepulveda, but he points out elections are not over yet.
“The growth in Harlingen that we’re going to have, I look forward to working with the new commission,” said Gonzalez. “Now we still have two commissioners that have to be elected.”
Cameron County Elections Administrator Remi Garza was present at Wednesday’s commission meeting and confirmed Harlingen had a 16% voter turnout when the average is usually 5%.
Residents said they believe it is partly because Cameron County coordinated polling.
“We had more people going out to vote than usual, and the numbers are what counted this time,” said Delia Cavazos-Gamez.
Gamez said with new term limits in place, those in office must make the most of their time.
“We know now that with the new proposition that passed we have term limits of 12 years and so whatever time we have that’s the time you have in order to do what you need to get done,” said Gamez.