EDINBURG — A bevy of judges and Hidalgo County officials who came out on top in the Nov. 3 election were sworn into office Friday.
Everardo “Ever” Villarreal took the oath of office as Hidalgo County Precinct 3 commissioner by state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa.
“I’m very confident that Ever will be one of the best county commissioners we ever had in Hidalgo County,” Hinojosa said.
Villarreal ousted incumbent Joe Flores for the position.
“While this is my swearing in, it’s not about me; it’s about us,” Villarreal said Friday. “It’s about everyone who believes Precinct 3 can and must be more. It’s about all of us who call Precinct 3 home and are ready to work hard to make it a better precinct. More than anything, today’s about everyone who’s ready for change and who will work hard for it.”
Villarreal thanked family and community members at the ceremony, which was virtually broadcast.
“I will do my best to move our community forward, but I can’t do it alone,” he said. “It’s gonna take the support and involvement of all of our community. We must all work together so that Precinct 3 can continue to move forward.”
A newcomer to state courts, 464th state District Judge Joe Ramirez was also sworn in Friday.
Ramirez, a Democrat, defeated Republican Ysmael Fonseca for the spot, who was appointed to the newly created seat by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2019.
“Today was the culmination of years of hope and diligence,” Ramirez wrote. “First and foremost I want to thank God for his guidance and wisdom. I am grateful for my family and their unwavering support and love. And, this day would never have materialized without the faith and trust of our supporters.”
Ramirez commented on the ceremony being different than anticipated — all were socially distanced and some were completely virtual — but said he was pleased to be able to share the moment with his family.
“I am excited and anxiously await the opportunity to serve the people of this county,” he wrote. “I will remain true to the commitment of honesty, compassion and integrity, and remain mindful of the confidence the citizens of Hidalgo County have placed in me.”
Incumbent 93rd state District Judge Fernando Mancias was sworn-in via a virtual ceremony Friday, promising to be a fair and good judge.
And 449th state District Judge Renee “Rena” Rodriguez-Betancourt made a similar promise in her swearing in ceremony Friday.
“I will work hard, along with my staff, to always keep the trust that you have in me, and to more importantly be fair, impartial, and always remember that every child that comes before me has a story,” she said after the oath. “I need to find that story, and I need to make the decisions that not only will ensure the safety of the public but will also rehabilitate that child.”
Like Rodriguez-Betancourt, incumbent Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra was sworn-in at an in-person ceremony Friday — watching his son Andres take the oath as an attorney shortly afterward.
“I couldn’t be more proud to solemnly swear to serve and protect our great county and community, and then stand by the side of this fine young man who will uphold law and justice as an attorney,” the sheriff wrote.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct which state district court Fernando Mancias presides over.