Alamo chamber director to run for Dem chair

Hidalgo County Democratic Chairwoman Norma Ramirez will face at least one opponent in the 2020 March Primary.

Alamo Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kassandra Elejarza announced her candidacy for the post in a news release earlier this week.

Elejarza currently serves as vice president of the Texas Democratic Women, a statewide organization that encourages women to get involved in all aspects of the political process and to run for elected office.

“Local chapters are the ‘engines’ that make Texas Democratic Women go,” the nonprofit’s website states. “Members, joining together on projects, attending parades, (and) having socials, build the foundation.”

Last year, Elejarza served as regional political director for the Texas Democratic Party and organized turnout operations cross 32 counties in South Texas.

“Elejarza’s network reaches every corner of the state,” the release stated. “As vice president of the Texas Democratic Women, she oversees over 4,000 members and coordinates several events across the state year round.”

Elejarza says she is passionate about her community and hopes to bring “a new perspective to county party politics.”

“We need to move away from our current system where our local elected officials have to pay thousands of dollars to be given recognition or speaking opportunities at local events,” she said. “These questionable practices force our local elected officials to act as checkbooks more than public servants.”

Elejarza earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, with a minor in Business Administration.

“Her extensive knowledge of political finance and fundraising gives her the ability to guide the Hidalgo County Democratic Party’s political infrastructure into our modern landscape,” the release stated.

Ramirez, however, also says she’s adept at handling the books and boasted the party’s healthy budget.

“We were in a negative position,” the chairwoman said about the financial state of the party when she first took over the post about a year and three months ago. “And we do now have a very healthy financial position.”

Ramirez said she also implemented a 16-member board to encourage transparency and community involvement.

“Finally, people are looking at the party as an organization that is active in the community,” she said.

Ramirez also implemented a free ride to the polls initiative countywide. All you have to do is call the party headquarters, she said.

“We will pick you up and take you to vote for free,” she said.

Ramirez also said the Democratic Party is getting ready to launch an educational program that will have two objectives.

“Part of that is to educate the people on the amendments that are going to be posted on the ballots and the census,” she said. “These are important to our community.”

The March 2020 Primary is set for March 3, 2020.

nlopez@themonitor.com