HARLINGEN — The city’s placid political scene is revving up.
In the May 4 election, Mayor Chris Boswell and Commissioners Tudor Uhlhorn and Richard Uribe face challengers.
Candidates’ filing deadline, which opened Jan. 16, closed Feb. 15.
Boswell, running for his fifth term, faces political newcomer Miguel Angel Segura.
Since first winning the mayor’s gavel, Boswell has become the city’s longest-serving mayor in at least 40 years.
In 1998, the attorney first won election to the commission before going on to win the mayor’s post in 2007.
“I enjoy serving my community — that’s part of me. I want to give back,” Boswell said yesterday. “I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot in the last few years and I feel there’s a lot more we can accomplish to move the city forward and I want to be a part of that.”
Segura, an assistant physical therapist, works at La Hacienda nursing home.
“The reason I am running for mayor of Harlingen is to serve the people,” Segura said. “I believe a mayor should serve all the community. I believe I’m qualified and have the skills, ability and education to be a mayor.”
In the city’s most contested race, District 1 Commissioner Richard Uribe faces former City Commissioner J.J. Gonzalez and Isidro Marquez, a former economic development official.
Uribe, a restaurant owner who has served on the city’s WaterWorks board, is running for his second term.
He could not be reached for comment.
In 2016, Uribe ran unopposed, filling Commissioner Danny Castillo’s seat after he chose not to seek re-election following two terms in office.
Gonzalez, a real estate broker, served on the commission from 2000 to 2006.
“I feel I’m the better candidate with my background,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve always been community-minded. I care for my community. It’s proven by my interest. I want to have a say-so.”
Marquez, a retired maquiladora marketing director, served as the city’s vice president for economic development from 1998 to 2001 and executive director of the San Benito Economic Development Corporation in 2009.
“I feel I can contribute something to the city of Harlingen,” Marquez said. “I have a lot of knowledge in transportation, logistics, economics and manufacturing. Harlingen sits in a very enviable position. We’re in the center of the Valley. The possibilities are endless and they have to be worked.”
In the race for District 2, Uhlhorn and former Commissioner Frank Puente are locked in a rematch of the 2016 election, when the incumbent won by a 21-vote margin.
Uhlhorn, a farmer and real estate investor who first won election in 2013 with a victory over Puente, said he wants to work toward the completion of the Baxter Lofts’ $4.5 million renovation project and the merger of the Rio Grande Valley’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
“We’ve got one of Harlingen’s longest-running expansions. The community is doing good, everything’s growing, business is coming in and I’d like to be part of that at least one more time,” Uhlhorn said. “I like working with the mayor, the commissioners and the staff at City Hall. I think we’ve got a good team and I think, in part, that’s because of the stability of the commission.”
Puente, a roofing company owner who served as a commissioner from 2003 to 2006, believes he can defeat Uhlhorn this time around.
“It’s kind of like David and Goliath — the challenge. Ever since the last election, I’ve thought about it almost every day. What can I do? I’ve talked with the community and I’ve gotten involved,” Puente said. “I believe our leadership is OK but I feel it could be better. It feels like Harlingen has gone through a stagnant period. I feel we can improve and come up with better ideas.”
Early voting runs from April 22 to 30.