Voters elect new school board members

Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) Board President incumbent for board of trustee place 6 Minerva M. Peña waves to motorist on election day Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, along Alton Gloor Boulevard in Brownsville, Texas. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

By Nubia Reyna and Laura B. Martinez, Staff Writer

The unofficial election results from early voting and Election Day show that political newcomer Daniella Lopez-Valdez was headed toward victory for BISD Board of Trustees Position 5.

With all 47 precincts reporting, Lopez-Valdez received 26,024 to Erasmo Castro’s 14,949

The totals do not include mail in ballots.

“Thank you to all my supporters for believing in me and for all their hard work in spreading the positive word in supporting leadership for a new generation,” Lopez Valdez said.

Lopez Valdez said it has been an amazing experience running for public office for the first time and that it is crucial that the community realizes the future of the community is up to them, and they must step up to the challenge.

“I truly believe our students, teachers and staff deserve the best leaders to serve on the BISD board of trustees,” she said.

Castro said the past four months have been a rollercoaster ride of emotions and he wants to thank everyone who came out to vote.

“We continue to pray that the change a coming as a result of our vote will steer our district and community into a new better direction,” he said.

Position 6

Longtime incumbent Minerva M. Pena continued to hold a slight lead over one opponent for Position 6 by 9 votes.

With all 47 precincts reporting, unofficial results show Pena received 15,233 votes compared to Marisa F. Leal’s 15,224 votes. Joe A. Rodriguez received 9,720 votes. The numbers do no include mail in ballots.

“I want to thank them for believing in me, for supporting me and for praying that God places everyone in every position with is favor so we can move all the cities, the counties, the states and the country forward,” Peña said.

Rodriguez said he wants to thank every voter who came out and added that in all his career he has never seen this amount of people voting.

“I just want to thank them and there’s a lot of people that are voting because they want change, they want assurance that good things will happen and not be complicit to wrongdoing,” he said.

Leal said she is thankful to all her supporters and family who have been with her throughout the campaign journey. She said regardless the outcome she wants to thank every voter who came out and exercised their right.

“Whoever wins more power to them and I hope they do make a change and I hope they do the right thing for the children,” she said.

Position 7

For the Position 7 seat, Eddie Garcia was leading his opponent Carlos Elizondo by over 8,000 votes.

With all precincts reporting, Garcia received 24,176 votes, while Carlos Elizondo received 15,931. The numbers do not include mail in ballots.

“I am humbled and moved by everyone’s positive message. I took an oath to serve with honor and will continue to do so,” Garcia said. “We’re building our children’s future together.”

As of press time, Elizondo did not respond to The Herald’s request for comment.

Position 3

Newcomer Jessica Gonzalez will most likely be a new face on the Board of Trustees, with the early votes having her ahead of incumbent Trustee Philip T. Cowen for Position 3 seat, unofficial results revealed.

With 47 precincts reporting, Gonzalez received 18,406 votes to Cowen’s 12,878 votes. The numbers do not include mail in ballots.

Also running for the position were Argelia Miller, who received 4,049 votes and Viro Cardenas who received 4,873.

Gonzalez said she has been “an active vocal parent volunteer for 10 years” and has had the honor to sit on different committees, “so I’ve seen firsthand the lack of communication at all levels of the district. It is time for a different perspective on the board, one with a focus on the families and voiceless as well.”

Gonzalez said before deciding to be a stay-at home mom she spent years in leadership positions in the retail sector. Of her candidacy she said her retail experience “and my years of volunteering for the district gave me experience in bringing people together for a common cause, here it would be to bring the district forward.”

Position 2

Position 2 seat appeared to belong to Denise Garza who was ahead of Jaime Detz and Frankie Olivo, unofficial results indicated.

This was the first race for all three candidates. The position had been held by appointed board member Eddie Garcia, who is running for position 7. This is a two year term.

Garza received 16,219 votes to Diez’s 13,003 and Olivo’s 11,394. This does not include mail in ballots.

Garza said she decided to run out of concern the community is divided. “Our students, parents, teachers, and staff already have a lot of stress brought on by Covid, and I will work to insure our board and superintendent will do what is best and safe for all. As a parent, former employee, and community member, I am seeking the BEST for our district and community.”