Ortega decides to seek re-election for District 7 council seat
By David Crowder and Sito Negron
Posted on February 20, 2009
District 7 city Rep. Steve Ortega, who has been undecided about seeking a second term, said Friday that he will run for re-election in the May 9 city elections.
“I haven’t formally announced but I am committed to running,” he said. “I think the city is moving in the right direction, and I’d like to see through some of the progress that we’ve made in the last several years.”
Two other candidates have indicated they may run for the District 7 seat: Jaime Perez, the chief of staff to County Judge Anthony Cobos, and Trini Munoz.
Both Perez and Munoz have run repeatedly for office but have never been elected. Perez has also mounted a number of unsuccessful petition drives, including a recall effort against former city Rep. Paul Escobar.
Ortega is closely aligned with city Reps. Beto O’Rourke, Susie Byrd, and Ann Lilly, all of whom were elected in 2005, along with Mayor John Cook.
Cook and Byrd are running again this year as are the other two representatives whose seats are open this year: Emma Acosta and Melina Castro.
In his district, Ortega said, his top priority is completing a $25 million drainage project in the Pasodale subdivision, which was annexed in the 1950s but has never been brought up to city standards.
“We’re looking at either inserting the project into the 2010 bond election and if it doesn’t pass, working with the neighborhood to find another solution.
“That neighborhood has been neglected for 55 years. It’s a $25 million project and even if I’m not around, I will still work with them to see that they get their improvements.
“I plan on running a positive, up-beat campaign.”
Perez named a campaign treasurer for his potential race but has not paid the filing fee or a petition for a place on the ballot.
Asked about his intentions Friday, Perez said he had not decided and hung up the phone.
Munoz indicated he is serious about running and said he would do so to improve conditions in the district and work for “more youth programs, more police presence in the community for District 7"
He could not remember the different offices he has run for over the years, but recalled a bid for community college trustee in 2000.
Asked to comment on what needs to be done better at District 7 and whether his run is a critique of Ortega, Munoz said, "Steve has been good enough to help us with some of the issues in the area, one being the need for more recreational programs for the children.
“I’m not critical of that. I just think we need to energize District 7, focus more on the needs of the district and not as much on the needs of the whole city," he said.
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