Three-term incumbent running unopposed for Donna council

DONNA — Councilman Joey Garza drew no opponent for a second time, practically guaranteeing him a fourth term on the city council.

“I guess the community trusts that I’m there for the betterment of the community, which I am,” Garza said about again running unopposed.

In 2015, voters re-elected Garza and Councilwoman Cathy Alvarado, who declined to seek re-election this year. Alvarado’s decision comes nearly a year after her allies lost seats on the city council as a result of a contentious election, propelling Mayor Rick Morales and Councilmen Oscar Gonzales and Art Castillo to take control as a majority from a field of 11 candidates.

Garza, a teacher at Donna High School and brother to municipal court Judge Javier Garza, said he works “with everyone” to “get things done.”

“Ultimately, I’m there for the citizens of this community,” Garza said, adding that he aims to continue focusing on economic development and job growth during his fourth, three-year term.

In 2009, Donna’s property tax rate reached $1.25 per $100 valuation, he said, and considers the ability to incrementally lower it last year to 79 cents per $100 valuation a top accomplishment, along with bolstering the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge, having broken ground on the construction of southbound commercial lanes in August.

“I would like to collaborate with other Mid-Valley towns and work well together to help expand all of this area,” Garza said.

Garza will support Eloy Avila, his cousin, who submitted paperwork Aug. 24 to appear on the ballot in the seat being vacated by Alvarado. Avila, a Donna school board member, drew one opponent — former school board member Nicolas “Nick” Castillo Jr.

“As an elected official, we need to work with who the community chose to be there (on the city council),” Garza said.