Candidates for commissioner and county attorney team up for campaign event in Presidio 

During their campaign social in Presidio on Saturday, candidates Samuel Sanchez and Blair Park engage with community members ahead of the local Presidio County elections. Photo by Hannah Gentiles.

PRESIDIO — Last Saturday, Precinct 1 Commissioner candidate Samuel Sanchez and prospective County Attorney Blair Park joined forces for a campaign fiesta at the Presidio Stockyards. Despite the chilly weather, attendees sipped cold drinks and danced to live music provided by Zauna, a local fan favorite. 

Both candidates hoped the food and fun wouldn’t distract from their message. Sanchez and Park both wanted to bring a fresh perspective to county politics. “We want to be able to serve our people, serve our county and try to make it better for everybody,” Sanchez said. 

The two candidates are distantly related: Sanchez’s dad is first cousins with Park’s grandfather. (Neither knew the other was running until Park’s aunt got a call from Sanchez updating her on recent happenings.) Both have deep ties to the region spanning generations — which they say fuels their desire to make a positive impact. 

They also hope their roots will help people from all over the county come together. Sanchez owns the Presidio Stockyards and a trucking company that imports cattle to the United States. Cattle cross the border, are processed through the stockyards and then are shipped north to feed lots. 

Park hails from Marfa, where she works as an attorney. She grew up taking orders at Carmen’s Café, a San Antonio Street institution. The family moved to San Angelo when she was a teenager, where she decided to pursue a career in law and spent five years in Dallas-Fort Worth before returning home to Marfa.

Around 200 people trickled in and out of Saturday’s event. Both Park and Sanchez were pleasantly surprised by how many came from other parts of the county — a healthy portion of the crowd traveled from Marfa, and a few came from Redford, Shafter and Ruidosa. “We want to make it better for everybody,” Sanchez said. “Not just Presidio or Marfa, not just one city — but to bring everybody together.” 

Sanchez said that his focus was pursuing grant funding to help improve county services. He didn’t want to criticize the performance of past commissioners, but said that it was time for a change. “It’s not that they’re not doing a good job — we just want to make it better,” he said. 

Family ties aside, Park thought he was a great candidate for the job. “I think everyone who knows him knows he’s a very genuine person,” she said. “He’s just interested in everyone’s wellbeing.” 

As county attorney, Park would prosecute misdemeanors and advise the county on legal matters. She said that one item potential constituents wanted addressed was that they wanted to see the county’s docket expedited — in other words, processing those misdemeanor cases faster. 

More generally, she wanted to emphasize to Presidio voters that she would fight for them. “I think the main issue down here is access to the same county services that we have in Marfa,” she said, pointing out that services like accessing birth and death certificates and filing deeds excluded folks who couldn’t make the hourlong trek. “I want to make it a better, more efficient system for everyone.”