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Election legal paperwork filed by Justice Yañez could result in Republicans kicking her off ballot

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Eddie Sáenz, featured second from right, on Monday, December 31, officially filed for state representative, House District 40, to challenge Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, in the March 4 Democratic Party primary. Sáenz was joined by his family and by Juan Maldonado, Hidalgo County Democratic Party chairman, and Maldonado’s son, Juan, at the county Democratic Party headquarters in Pharr. Sáenz said that under the legislative terms of Peña and Peña’s Austin allies, hundreds of thousands of eligible children have been stripped of their health benefits, college tuition costs have almost doubled at Texas’ flagship university, families and small business are charged an average of 54 percent more in utilities, and homeowners are forced to pay more than twice the national average to insure their homes. Peña, meanwhile, criticized Sáenz for failing to appear at a local Democratic Party event onj Wednesday evening, January 2, hinting of some of the attacks Peña, a local trial lawyer, will launch against Sáenz, a civil engineer: “Based on information that has reached our campaign on his residence and his disregard and failure to appear at tonight’s important Democratic function for a minimal debate he should really consider dropping out of the race,” Peña wrote in his political website. Featured with Sáenz in this portrait are, from left, his wife, Sandra; Juan Maldonado and his father, Juan Maldonado; Eddie Sáenz; and Eddie and Sandra’s daughter, Cassie. See story later in this posting.

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McAllen attorney Javier Villalobos, left, hears from a potential constituent, Fred Zambrano, last summer in McAllen at the onset of Villalobos’ campaign run for state representative, House District 41 – currently held by Verónica Gonzáles, D-McAllen – which includes southwest Edinburg. Villalobos filed as a Republican candidate on Wednesday, January 2, marking his official first entry as a political candidate. If elected, Villalobos would be the first Republican to win a state representative seat in Hidalgo County. In addition to Villalobos/ Gonzáles race, which won’t be decided until the November 2008 presidential election, there are two other contested battles for the Texas Legislature in Hidalgo County. Eddie Sáenz and Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, are involved in the House 40 Democratic Party primary contest, and Rep. Ismael “Kino” Flores, D-Palmview, is being challenged by Sandra Rodríguez for the House 36 legislative post.

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Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, featured left during a recent event at the University of Texas Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen, was one of three Hidalgo County lawmakers who drew no opponents for their respective legislative seats in 2008. In addition to Lucio, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. Armando “Mando” Martínez, D-Weslaco, also will be unopposed for reelection. Lucio and Hinojosa will begin serving new, four-year terms beginning in January 2009; Martínez will begin serving a new, two-year term in January 2009.

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Judge Susan Criss’ family legacy includes helping abolish “slavery” of farm workers in Texas

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District Judge Susan Criss of Galveston, a Democratic Party candidate for Texas Supreme Court, says a series of laws passed by the Texas Legislature in the 1980s help free Texas farm workers from “slavery.” She credited her father, former Rep. Lloyd Criss, D-Galveston, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and former Rep. Alex Moreno, Jr., D-Edinburg, among others, for what she says was “landmark civil rights” legislation in Texas. See related story.

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Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, featured with constituents in this file photo, is urging voters to support Proposition 15, a state constitutional amendment that would, with statewide voter approval, authorize a $3 billion, 10-year initiative “to make Texas into one of the nation’s leading center for cutting-edge research.” Hinojosa, a co-sponsor of Proposition 15, said Texans “have a chance to take a giant step toward curing a deadly disease that sooner or later touches every Texan’s life. More than 87,000 of our friends and loved ones will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year, and 36,000 will succumb to it.” Proposition 15 is on the November 6 election ballot. Early voting is currently ongoing.

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Tejano music superstar Roberto Pulido of Edinburg, a member of the private Tejano Walk of Fame Committee, on Tuesday, October 16, announced to the Edinburg City Council that the Tejano Walk of Fame ceremony, which honors legends of the music genre, will be held once again in the three-time All-America City. The date is Thursday, November 15, beginning at 6 p.m. at The Social Club, a restaurant located at 205 Conquest Boulevard. Sponsorship fees and ticket prices will soon be announced by the group, which also includes Dr.Dahlia Guerra, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas-Pan American, featured here behind Pulido. The event raises scholarships for music majors at the university. Scheduled to be inducted this year are performers Paulino Bernal y Conjunto Bernal of McAllen; Gilberto Pérez y sus Compadres of Mercedes; Emilio Gerardo y Los Aguilares of San Antonio; Gilberto López y su Conjunto of Edinburg; and Freddy Martínez of Corpus Christi. The concert will include performances by Little Joe y La Familia, Roberto Pulido; his son, Bobby Pulido; the Renaissance Rockers; The UTPA Mariachi; and René Sandoval. More information on sponsorships and tickets may be obtained by calling 316-4700. See story later in this posting.

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Gilberto López of Edinburg, surrounded by some of his family, reacts with appreciation on Tuesday, October 16, to a city proclamation honoring the legendary member and renowned accordionist of Los Dos Gilbertos, an Edinburg-based Tejano music group. López is one of five Tejano music professionals who are going to be inducted into Edinburg’s Tejano Walk of Fame on Thursday, November 15 during an elaborate ceremony to hosted by The Social Club in Edinburg. “In 1971, Gilberto López united with Gilberto García, another accordion player, and together they became known as Los Dos Gilbertos,” said Mayor Joe Ochoa. “Los Dos Gilbertos gained popularity with their accordion duets in South Texas, Chicago, Michigan, California, and other parts of the United States and Mexico.” López was honored by the mayor and city council “for his dedication to conjunto music, and his many contributions to the Hispanic culture of the city of Edinburg.”

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