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      Stage Set for Mayoral Race

      Rick Morales is the businessman that wants to take current Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell TMs seat in the May 11 election.

      Morales said it's hard for businesses to set-up shop in Harlingen, which is pushing high paying jobs away.

      As a developer, he claims to have the capability to draw business to the community and give it a competitive edge with Brownsville and McAllen.

      "What I propose to do, is to create 5,000 to 7,000 high-paying jobs, (that pay) anywhere from $15 to $30 per hour jobs, by designating our airport a free trade, foreign trade zone, Morales said.

      But Boswell, mayor since 2007, said business is booming in Harlingen. He's kept the city focused on securing big name retailers like Bass Pro Shops, Sam TMs Club and Burlington Coat Factory. He adds 2012 ended with a nine percent retail sales tax increase.

      "We're growing and we're adding both in our retail sector and manufacturing sector - even five years ago we only had 10 Veteran's Affairs health care workers in our city, and now we have almost 300."

      Boswell said the city is on the upswing and now is not the time to hand the reigns to someone else. Even when there are differences amongst city commissioners, Boswell said he's still the best choice to keep focus on the betterment of Harlingen.

      "(We need to continue) development of our VA, and with the development of the Regional Health Academic Center; continue our growth spurt with the retail; continue our growth spurt with manufacturing jobs, Boswell said. These are things that I TMve given good leadership to and I TMd like to continue to see it through."

      However, Morales said it's time for a new perspective and unity.

      "One of the biggest problems in Harlingen is the racial divide - a lot of people feel disenfranchised."