Oscar Leeser sworn in as mayor
Story and photos by: Ricky Jimenez Carrasco
After 8 years under John Cook, Oscar Leeser was sworn in as El Paso’s new mayor on Monday at a special ceremony at the Plaza Theater. He, along with several incumbent and newly elected representatives and judges, were greeted by several hundred well-wishers, family members and concerned citizens. Cook was in the audience and recognized by Leeser and others for his years of service to the city.
New officials included Oscar Leeser, who currently also serves as President of Hyundai of El Paso; Larry Romero, City Rep District 2, is owner of Romero Financial Services; Lily Limon, City Rep District 7, is a retired educator. Incumbents Emma Acosta and Carl Robinson, and Municipal Court Judges Richard Olivo, Maximino Daniel Munoz, and Odell Holmes were also sworn in.
Many of the newly elected officials brought close family to the swearing in ceremony to help celebrate. Leeser’s grandchildren, Dylan and Lucas Ramirez, helped lead the crowd in the pledge of allegiance before a member of the El Paso Fire Department sang the national anthem. Lily Limon brought her 87 year old grandmother and Emma Acosta brought three of her grandchildren to the stage.
All the speakers pledged their focus to deal with the many issues they have to tackle in the coming years. Leeser reiterated many of his campaign promises, including teamwork and transparency. His campaign raised over $300,000, including about $90,000 of his own money. He pledged to donate all $47,000 of his yearly salary that he would receive as mayor to charity organizations. The new mayor will lead city council meetings starting this week. Leeser introduced his wife, children and grandchildren to the audience, stating that “family is the most important thing in my life, and we have just expanded our family to the City of El Paso.”
Incumbents Emma Acosta, District 3, and Carl Robinson, District 4, will be returning to the council after winning in different styles. Acosta, who was accompanied by three of her grandchildren for her swearing-in, ran unopposed in the East side. She joked that it was an achievement to receive 100% of the vote. Robinson, on the other hand, ran a tight race that was decided by less than 30 votes. He stated that he “was living proof that every vote counts.”
Perhaps the loudest support came for new city representative Lily Limon in District 7. She thanked her many supporters and campaign workers, many in attendance. She recited an ancient Greek pledge that promised that she, “will never bring disgrace to our city by an act of dishonesty or cowardice…we will transmit this city no less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”
Municipal Court Judge Odell Holmes stated, “We are lucky people who because of the trust of the voters of El Paso, we have the opportunity to use our best efforts to fulfill their expectations, but with opportunity comes responsibility to do our best to meet those expectations.”
The loudest ovation of the night came for incumbent Municipal Court Judge Maximino Daniel Munoz who started off by poking fun at the announced possible names for the coming Triple A baseball team. “I don’t believe anybody in El Paso looks like an Aardvark or a Sun Dog to me!…I’m going to pray that we don’t get stuck with any of those names at all!” He gave his own suggestion when he told the story of one of the names for the pioneers that came with Don Juan de Onate, “Los Adelantados”, Spanish for “the ones that go ahead and face the dangers…I’d rather be an Adelantado, than an Aardvark!” Munoz equated the City of El Paso to the Adelantados. ” We are strong! We are full of character, and we will make the city better!”