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Political stage: Guajardo returns

After being out of the public limelight for the past approximately 10 years, former San Juan Mayor and PSJA ISD Superintendent Arturo Guajardo is back, having filed late last year to run for Hidalgo County Democratic Party Precinct 4 chairman, a seat that he held for a time back in the 1980s. That seat is currently occupied by Cynthia Gutierrez who is set to run for re-election. Gutierrez is no push-over, so in a crowded Democratic primary this March (lot of local and state seats up for grabs), look for this race to prove of interest. Normally, precinct chair elections fly under the radar because with regard to local politics, they sit so low on the totem pole; but look for this one to garner some publicity, simply because Guajardo’s name carries some weight around these parts. The Democratic primary is set for this March. Last month, Guajardo was already getting some push back. The Advance received an email from a local reader who wrote that Guajardo’s filing to run for the Precinct 4 chair was a violation of his plea agreement entered into in December 2007. During a phone interview last week (Jan. 7), Guajardo, now 72, said as far as he was concerned, there was nothing preventing him from running for public office despite his guilty plea. “I can run. I don’t have a problem with voting and stuff like that.” In fact, Texas is a state that allows convicted felons to vote once they have completed probation, which applies to Guajardo, Sr. For those new to this area, Guajardo, Sr. is a San Juan native, a grad of PSJA High, who later served as San Juan mayor from 1981 to 1984. He lost to “Tito” Palacios by 27 votes in ‘84, then came back in 1987 and reclaimed the mayoral seat, which he held until 1996. Before becoming mayor, Guajardo was a city commissioner and part of a group tied to the La Raza Unida Party, comprised of young chicanos who believed that the Hispanic demographic in the RGV was woefully underrepresented in city government. Guys like Chuy Ramirez, Guajardo, Juan Maldonado, Lalo Arcaute, Ruben Yzaguirre were the young guns who changed San Juan’s city hall makeup in the early 1970s. During all of those years, Guajardo was working at PSJA ISD. In fact, after graduating from high school in 1965, and after graduating from college, Guajardo returned to his alma mater and ...

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