Mission swears in new city council member

Alberto Vela is sworn in by former Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia as Place 4 Mission City Councilman at City Hall on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

MISSION — The city welcomed a new council member as local pharmacist Alberto Vela was sworn in Wednesday to take over the Place 4 seat.

Upon taking the oath of office, which was administered by former Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia, Vela became the third person to be sworn in on the Mission City Council Place 4 seat for the 2016-20 term.

Vela was appointed by the council last week to replace Gus Martinez, who vacated his seat on the council to take the job of city attorney following the resignation of Abiel Flores earlier this year.

Martinez himself was a mid-term replacement for Armando O’Caña, who resigned his council seat to run for mayor in 2018.

Vela, 44, is owner of TLC Pharmacy & Medical Equipment, Apple Pharmacy and is a land developer.

Following his swearing-in, he thanked the various attendees, which included various officials from throughout western Hidalgo County as well as state Rep. Oscar Longoria, D-Mission, Precinct 3 Hidalgo County Commissioner Joe Flores, and Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra.

“I will work with the mayor, city council, city manager and staff to be fair, impartial and work in unity by ensuring responsibility management and oversight of our city finances and resources,” Vela said.

“I’m not a politician, I’m just like each and every one of you — a committed citizen who wants what’s best for our community,” he said. “I took this opportunity today but it’s going to take all of us to unite Mission and let it grow.”

For Place 2 Councilman Ruben Plata, a big factor in selecting Vela was his assurance that he would not run for re-election in 2020.

On Wednesday, Vela reiterated that he only planned to stay for the one year remaining in the term.

“I’m only going to do it for this year,” he said, adding that he considered it a test run for when he’s retired.

Vela said he agreed to join the council, believing he could help out and perhaps contribute in efforts to have Mission grow.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity,” he said.

After Vela was sworn in, O’Caña said he wished him luck.

“It’s a great day in Mission,” O’Caña said. “I already feel that he will provide us the balance that we need to move Mission forward.”