Garza-Perez keeps County Clerk seat

BROWNSVILLE — Sylvia Garza-Perez was poised for victory over challenger Lali Betancourt for Cameron County Clerk in yesterday’s Democratic primary race as ballots were counted late Tuesday.

Garza-Perez, who has held the seat since 2014, was in the lead with 8,467 votes to Betancourt’s 6,500, with all precincts reporting.

Garza-Perez attributed her likely victory to “a lot of hard work,” the support of family and friends, and “the Lord being with me every day of my life.”

“Honestly, it’s just being a servant to the people, and I will continue to do that again: serve and continue to lead by example and not by anything else,” Garza-Perez said. “To the ones that didn’t vote for me, I would like to say that regardless of your choice I am still here to serve every individual in Cameron County. For those that voted for me, thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to represent you.”

She campaigned on her experience in administering the office and its 50-plus employees spread around the county, providing quality customer service to constituents and raising the profile of the office. Garza-Perez noted that the office had received the state’s “Five Star Service Award” three years running.

Betancourt said running for County Clerk was partly about continuing her family’s legacy. Her parents were Juanita Betancourt, active with Democratic Women of Brownsville, and Judge Adolfo Betancourt, who sat at Cameron County Court-at-Law No. 2, a position now held by her sister, Laura Betancourt.

Lali Betancourt is student services coordinator for Gateway Academy, San Benito CISD’s dropout recovery program, which she said during the campaign gave her the administrative experience necessary to run the County Clerk’s office.

Betancourt said she was grateful and humbled by the many people who encouraged her to run.