By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Candidates running for seats on the Port Isabel City Commission and the Point Isabel Independent School District Board of Trustees gathered at the Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center for a Candidates’ Night.
The event, which was co-hosted by the Port Isabel – South Padre Press, was meant to give members of the community a chance to learn about the political hopefuls in advance of early voting, which began this week.
The event took the form of a panel discussion in which four panelists asked the candidates questions in turn. Candidates each gave their answer to the same question before a new one was asked. The panelists included Gary Snyder, of the Port Isabel Taxpayers League (PITL), Gayle Hood, of the South Padre Island Realtors Association, Ebbie Ahadi, representing Concerned Citizens, and Dina Arévalo, editor of the PRESS.
The event was divided into two parts, with City candidates sitting for questions first, and school board candidates sitting for questions after a short intermission. Each session was one hour long and candidates had a three minute limit per question.
In each session, all but one candidate were present.
Present for the City races was mayoral candidate Juan Jose “J.J” Zamora, Place 1 candidates Martin Cantu, Jr. and Michelle A. Barreiro, and Place 2 candidates Carmen Rios and Mario Tamayo. Mayoral candidate Maria de Jesus “M.J.” Garza was not present, as she was out of town.
Present for the school board races was Place 3 candidates Mickey Furcron (incumbent), Place 4 candidates Alicia Baldovinos and Wendi Wells-Torres, and Place 5 candidates Diane O’Leary (incumbent) and Raul “Cowboy” Loera. Not present was Place 4 candidate Jennifer Valdez-Martinez.
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