Edinburg political liaison exiting post

EDINBURG — The city’s political affairs liaison tendered her resignation last week after serving in the position for four months.

Miriam Michelle Cepeda, 27, submitted a three-week’s notice on Friday.

“As the 86th Texas Legislative session is coming to a close, I’ve decided to return back to graduate school and complete my thesis dissertation,” Cepeda wrote. “As I mentioned to Mayor earlier today, 2020 is right around the corner and I’d also like to take advantage of other opportunities that have risen, meanwhile continuously support the city of Edinburg.”

Cepeda made national headlines in June 2016 when CNN featured her as a border Latina campaigning for then GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. A few days later, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted her father was a cartel figure who was convicted for stalking and conspiring to kill a cartel lawyer who was serving as an informant in 2013.

Still, her Republican ties caught the attention of Empower Texans, a conservative media outlet, and in May 2017, she was named bureau chief for the Rio Grande Valley sector. As bureau chief, she wrote numerous articles ranging from FBI raids to covering visits by Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Cepeda, who holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, began working for Edinburg in January.

The position was originally supposed to pay $49,600, but Edinburg City Manager Juan Guerra raised her pay to $60,000.

“Years of experience in Texas and national political campaigns bring knowledge that is unique and valuable to Edinburg,” Guerra wrote as justification for the pay increase, according to her personnel file.

The position called for a bachelor’s degree and required a “minimum of four years in related experience in public policy, working on Capitol Hill, in the Texas State Legislature, or non-profit organization,” which Cepeda did not appear to meet based on her resume.

Still, she’s been pushing legislators in Austin to focus on the city’s priorities.

“We’re trying to get some funding for our airport, for our hangar, and especially for border security operations,” she said Thursday from Austin, where she was lobbying for additional funds.

It’s unclear if her push will be successful, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s not over till it’s over,” she said. “I won’t know until the end of the month.”

Cepeda said she decided to step down from the position to essentially re-evaluate her direction.

“I just want to take some time off and focus on myself and focus on my thesis, as well as prepare for 2020,” she said, adding that she has been receiving calls from Washington D.C. about possible opportunities for her.

Some of those opportunities might include a run for office.

“I wouldn’t shut it down completely, but two people up here in Austin have told me, ‘Hey, you need to run,’” she said. “People are always contacting me. I’m not going to shoot it completely down.”

When asked if the mayor’s recent arrest on illegal voting charges — which caught the attention of the state’s top republican leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — had factored into her decision to step down, she replied, “No, like I said I was hired to do a task and the session is already going to end and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to represent the city of Edinburg. The timing is inconvenient but it has nothing to do with that.”