February 23, 2022 120 PM
MARFA — The joint general election for both Marfa City Council and Marfa ISD School Board that had been slated for May 7 will be canceled due to a lack of candidates vying for the positions.
Applications for three city council and four Marfa ISD school board seats closed last Friday, February 18. Neither the city nor the school board reported any contested races for open seats, meaning applicants will simply be appointed without an election.
The terms of three out of five current city council members — Yoseff Ben-Yehuda, Buck Johnston and Eddie Pallarez — are up for reelection. Pallarez was the only council member to file for reelection. Pallarez first took office in November 2020 and said he decided to continue to serve on the city council in order to take care of unfinished business, and that he’s learned a lot about budgeting and maintaining city systems thus far.
Marfa resident Mark Cash, who previously served on the Marfa ISD School Board, was the only other applicant, meaning one city council seat will be vacant. Cash did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
Because Pallarez and Cash are running unopposed, they will automatically be appointed to the positions. Even though a canvassing process will not be required, Pallarez and Cash will not enter office until late May or early June as is customary.
The third open seat will remain vacant for the time being, until Pallarez and Cash can be sworn in, said City Secretary Kelly Perez — at that point, the new council can request letters of interest and appoint someone to fill the vacant seat or hold a special election, which would not occur until next November.
The city will cancel the general election, in which council members are typically voted on, but will proceed with a special election on May 7 in which voters will decide whether or not to renew the quarter cent sales tax which allocates money for street improvements and is set to expire this year.
Unlike the city, the school board has enough applicants to fill open positions but none of the seats are contested. Superintendent Oscar Aguero confirmed they would cancel the election, which they have done in the past when similar situations have occurred. Also unlike the city, school board candidates must indicate which specific seat they intend to run for when filing.
The four school board candidates filed for four different seats. Ernie Villarreal filed for Place 5, which he has only held since fall 2021 when he stepped up to fill an unexpired term of Mark Cash.
“I am honored to be able to serve on the Marfa ISD School Board,” said Villarreal. “This will be my first full term and I am looking forward to working with current school board members, administrators, teachers and all staff for all of our students.”
Board Secretary Teresa Nuñez also filed to keep her Place 7 seat. She has been with the school board for ten years.
“We have a great program, and I am also excited to be working along with my fellow board members to make it even better by focusing on our academics and building a bright future for the students,” said Nuñez.
Lori Flores will step up to fill the unexpired term of Katie Price-Fowlkes, Place 2, who recently resigned from the board. Flores, who also serves as the city utilities clerk, will be returning to the board after leaving two years ago.
Ruben Martinez filed for Place 6, currently held by Shawn Brugette who has opted not to run for reelection. Martinez has an eight grade daughter at Marfa ISD and is a maintenance tech crew chief with the Texas Highways Department. He said he has been wanting to run to join the school board for a while now and is looking forward to starting a new chapter by serving on the board.
“It will be my privilege to work with other school board members, the administration and staff of Marfa ISD to continue working together and sharing the knowledge toward a better education for the children in our community,” said Martinez.