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Edinburg attorney Keno Vásquez secures Democratic Party nomination, and with no GOP opponent, set to become judge of 398th District Court in Hidalgo County on January 1, 2017

KENO VASQUEZ FAMILY

Featured, from left: son Alejandro Vásquez; Dr. Celina Vásquez; daughter Andrea Vásquez; presumptive Judge of the 398th District Court Librado “Keno” Vásquez; and daughter Olivia Vásquez.

COURTESY PHOTOGRAPH

Edinburg attorney Librado “Keno” Vásquez was the only name on the ballot for the judgeship of the 398th District Court in Hidalgo County, as his professional, business, and personal credentials were strong enough to discourage any opposition for the honor of serving as state district judge. “I am honored and humbled, thanks in large part to the outstanding work of my many supporters from all walks of life, that my candidacy for this very important position resulted in this incredible opportunity to serve our citizens in our judicial system,” said Vásquez, a Democrat whose main law office is in Edinburg. “There are no words to properly express my appreciation, but I plan to work very hard to continue earning the sacred trust that has been placed upon me.”

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Texans for Lawsuit Reform contributes $140,000 to Abraham Padrón campaign; trial lawyers pump almost $50,000 into Rep. Muñoz’ war chest in battle for House District 36 legislative seat

Photograph: HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
Featured: Rep. Sergio Muñoz, D-Mission, addressing fellow state lawmakers in the spring of 2015 from  the front microphone in the Chamber of the Texas House of Representatives.

Photograph: HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHY
 
Texans for Lawsuit Reform, known for its strong support for Republican candidates, has provided $140,000 in campaign contributions to Abraham Padrón, who is challenging three-term Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Mission, in the March 1 Democratic Party primary, according to the latest campaign finance reports maintained by the Texas Ethics Commission. For his part, Muñoz has received significant financial support from the two major attorney groups – the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, which often favors Democrats, and the Texas Association of Consumer Lawyers – which together have pumped almost $50,000 into the incumbent legislator’s political war chest. Those finding, and other details about who is investing in the House District 36 race, and how much and where the two candidates are spending, cover a period of January 22, 2016 to February 20, 2016. House District 36 includes all or parts of the cities of Hidalgo, Granjeño, McAllen, Mission, Palmview and Pharr. Muñoz, an attorney, has served in the Texas House of Representatives since 2011; Padrón, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Mexico, is an insurance agent. According to these most recent campaign finance reports, which are available online at https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/, both men showed the following data: Muñoz had $131,508.64 in contributions, $117,220.41 in expenditures, $202,772.14 cash on hand, and 286,300 in outstanding loans. Padrón reported $218,625 in contributions, $154,812.13 in expenditures, $71,571.74 cash on hand, and $151,135.06 in outstanding loans. Early voting for the March 1 Democratic and Republic party primaries has been ongoing since Tuesday, February 16, 2016, and will continue through Friday, February 26, 2016. There are no candidates who have filed for the Republican Party nomination for State Representative, House District 36, which means the Democratic Party nominee will most likely will be sworn into office for a two-year term that begins in January 2017. Muñoz lists his campaign address as P.O. Box 1257, Mission, Texas 78573, with Marla Muñoz-López serving as his campaign treasurer. She lists her treasurer address as 1110 South Closner, Edinburg, Texas 78539. The campaign treasure telephone number is 956/381-5555. Padrón lists his campaign address as 800 North 10th, McAllen, Texas 78501, with Delfa Padrón serving as his campaign treasurer. She lists her treasurer address as 800 North 10th, McAllen, Texas 78501. The campaign treasure telephone number is 956/821-8965.
 
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Rep. Peña defeats Eddie Sáenz in Democratic Party rematch, but remains coy about voting for reelection of Speaker of the House Tom Craddick, a Republican

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Former President Bill Clinton, flanked by Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes (left) and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen (no relation), drives a point about his wife’s (Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York) deep roots with Valley voters. The former president addressed hundreds of area residents during a campaign rally on Monday, March 3, in the University of Texas-Pan American Fieldhouse. He portrayed the Republican Party as the party of the wealthy and that President Bush is out-of-touch with average Americans. His wife, though, was nothing like the ruling class, he said. “You want a president…who every single day won’t get carried away driving around in a bulletproof vehicle, flying around on Air Force One and being told you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread,” Clinton said. “All you are as president is the most fortunate hired hand on the face of the earth. She (Hillary) knows that.” Sen. Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, are in a tight race to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president later this summer. See story later in this posting.

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Supporters of Sen. Barack Obama, including Edinburg school board member Robert Peña, Jr., seen here with the presidential candidate in Edinburg on February 22, remain confident about the Illinois Democrat’s showing in Texas on Tuesday, March 4. According to the Obama campaign, their projections show that Obama will take the majority of party delegates in Texas, which are just as important as the popular vote, which was won by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York. The Texans for Obama website on Thursday, March 6, stated that the organization “strategically focused our resources on building a massive grassroots operation that would win the caucuses overwhelmingly, and our gamble apparently has paid off. The current projections show us winning the caucuses 55 percent to 45 percent.”

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Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, points with joy to a television monitor Tuesday night, March 4, that showed news accounts confirming his victory over Eddie Sáenz for a fourth two-year term as state representative for House District 40, which includes most of Edinburg. Peña and his many supporters were gathered at Treviño’s Restaurant in north Edinburg for the victory party. According to unofficial totals posted Wednesday, March 5, by the Hidalgo County Elections Department, Peña received 9,839 votes compared with 8,761 votes for Sáenz – or 52.9 percent of the vote for Peña compared with 47.10 percent of the vote for Sáenz. There is no Republican opponent, so Peña’s party primary victory sealed his reelection. See lead story later in this posting.

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Elva Jackson Garza, an Edinburg community and business leader, was recently inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame in recognition of her achievements and major contributions to deep South Texas. Two highlights of her distinguished work on behalf of the region include her service as board member of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation – the jobs-creation arm of t he Edinburg City Council – and her leadership as chairman of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Jackson Garza, featured left, receives the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame commemorative award from Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sánchez as her mother, María Sidia Gracia Jackson, proudly looks on. See story later in this posting.

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Author of Tejano Roots Dan Arellano meets with South Texas College student Jessica Mirelez during the NACCS Tejas Regional Conference Cultural Night recently held at the McAllen Convention Center. With more than 400 attendees from across the Rio Grande Valley, Texas and the nation, the event offered a forum for the open exchange of ideas about the status and future opportunities for Mexican-Americans, focusing sharply on the need for expanded Mexican-American history and education opportunities. “This event has been highly energizing,” said María Ramírez, an instructor with Ohlone Community College out of California. “It has been terrific to connect with people from different generations. I know that younger Mexican-Americans will keep the missing chapters of our history alive and that is very exciting. I have been so impressed with the energy and interest in Mexican-American heritage and history from this community. It has been a remarkable experience.” See story later in this posting.

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