Community members and elected officials attend Duval County Town Hall

submitted

FREER – Duval County Republican Party hosted a Town Hall and Social Saturday, June 26 at the First Baptist Church in Freer.

Republicans and democrats were welcomed by Duval County Republican Party Chairman Mary Wilson. She recognized the leadership of C’Ann Henderson and Darla Lee, who serve as precinct chairs, and invited attendees to join their efforts.

Duval County Judge Gilbert Saenz delivered a State of the County message. He provided information on the progress of county affairs such as elections management and newly formed county elections council, the status of the county courthouse renovations, as well as the county budget.

Duval County Judge Gilbert Saenz delivered a State of the County message.

“I’m proud to announce to everyone that we’re no longer in a deficit, we have a balanced budget. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re definitely better than where we were,” Saenz reported. “We’re making sure that we are honest and responsible stewards of public funds.”

Judge Saenz said the county reduced the tax rate, is focusing on infrastructure, road maintenance, and equal distribution of funding for all the precincts. The county has worked with the Texas Veterans Commission for grant funding and will be receiving an additional van to transport veterans to medical appointments. Judge Saenz also expressed his confidence in Bobby Gonzalez, the new Duval County Elections Administrator, and the importance of continuing to improve elections in the county.

“We have to build trust and make sure people believe that their vote will be counted and there will be accountability and that all procedures will be followed," Saenz said.

Sheriff Romeo Ramirez talked about the history of the county jail facilities and capacity issues due to increase of inmates over the years and the need to transport inmates to other counties. He also addressed struggles for patrolmen to cover the large county with constraints on staffing.

Newly elected District Attorney Gocha Ramirez of the 229th District covering Duval, Jim Hogg and Starr counties provided an update on the increase in indictments in Duval County since he has taken office this year, compared to 2019 and 2020. He shared that his biggest concern leading him to seek the office was seeing that Duval County had been a forgotten county in timely prosecution of crime.

“You can’t tell me there were only 65 felonies in Duval in the whole year of 2019,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez shared a chart that showed only 65 felony indictments in 2019, 54 in 2020, but in the first five months of 2021 they have processed 68 indictments, showing that there is progress in prosecution of crimes, as his office catches up with the backlog of cases. He also shared that his office finally has an assistant district attorney for Duval and that he is working with the county to hire a full-time investigator for the office.

Julie Dahlberg, Vice Chair of the Wilson County Republican Party, shared with attendees an overview of who represents them in the Texas Legislature and U.S. Congress. Attendees examined their Democrat and Republican state and federal lawmakers’ voting records from this legislative session on key conservative issues, and reviewed a map and statistics showing how the entire South Texas border region has shown a significant shift from Democrat to Republican support from the 2016 to 2020 election.

All attendees were invited to attend Republican party meetings regardless of their political affiliation, and to follow the party’s Facebook page for meeting and event updates.

More information on the Duval County Republican Party and resources helpful to learn more about the conservative values of the Republican Party platform can be found on Facebook @DuvalCountyTxGOP, or by contacting Mary Wilson at (361) 765-6056 or maryw.duvalgop@yahoo.com.