Three women run for seats on the San Juan City Commission
For the first time in the history of the city of San Juan, three women have teamed up to run for seats on the city commission, according to incumbent San Juan Mayor San Juanita Sanchez.
While Sanchez is seeking re-election, Belinda Cisneros is running for San Juan Commissioner Place 2, and Cynthia Gutierrez is running for San Juan Commissioner Place 3.
Sanchez said they are ready to beat the odds of running as an all-female slate.
"Some folks have told me in the past that women slates don't win, but if I had been in a different city perhaps, but this city has had me as their mayor for nine years,” Sanchez said. “I'm the first woman mayor this city has had in the past 100 years of its history."
Cisneros and Gutierrez are running for an elected position for the first time. They decided to seek office after alleged push back of Sanchez's vision.
"I've seen the struggle that she has had with the majority of the commission not being on her side, or not supporting her on these issues," Cisneros said.
Gutierrez said she felt the same way after attending city council meetings.
"A lot of the issues that were not being resolved were because our mayor didn't have the support that she needed at the commission, so I decided to take a step forward," Gutierrez said.
Sanchez said that for the majority of her term as mayor, she’s experienced a lack of support within the commission.
“That has never discouraged me,” said Sanchez. “I believe that I have always been transparent; I've always brought the issues to the table. I voice my opinion and why I vote."
The three candidates said that by joining forces, they will be able to accomplish more for the city, by having a three-vote majority to pass items on the agenda.
"One of the things we want to do is expand our parks and recreation to include not only more sports and activities for the children, but for adults,” said Gutierrez. “One that I'm also really big on is education. We want to continue partnerships with our school districts and with other organizations, so that we can possibly bring higher education to San Juan," Gutierrez said.
Cisneros works at the Donna Independent School District Purchasing Department. Gutierrez completed medical school in Mexico, and is currently preparing to take the board exam to be able to practice in the United States.
Cisneros is running against Rubio Muñiz, and Neto "Coach" Guajardo---both men are also running for the first time.
Gutierrez is running against incumbent Jesus "Jesse" Ramirez.
Sanchez, who ran on the same slate as her opponent Mario Garza in 2014, is looking to continue leading the city for four more years if elected again.
Early voting begins April 24, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In San Juan, early voting will begin at the fire station at 2301 North Raul Longoria.