Ricardo Villarreal, “The Best is Yet to Come”
By Jesús Aguado
Ricardo Villarreal says “a government that does not know its people is doomed to failure” and for that reason, after winning the election for mayor in this city, he is working on his governance plan as well as seeking the people who will work in the different departments. He said they “ought to live in San Miguel; they must love San Miguel and know the people.”
The current administration is ruled by the PRI party. The new city council will be sworn in on October 10 this year and will be made up of one city councilor from the Humanist Party, one city councilor from the Social Encounter Party, three city councilors from the PRI party, and five from the PAN party, plus the mayor and the assistant mayor from the same party.
After the changes in the electoral law, the new mayors in Mexico will be the first allowed to be re-elected for a second three-year term in 2018. This interview was granted by Villarreal on Monday, June 8.
Jesús Aguado: Do you think that sanmiguelenses voted for the PAN party or against the PRI party and Mauricio Trejo?
Ricardo Villarreal: Seven of every 10 sanmiguelenses did vote against the PRI that runs the current administration, and that is a clear message that they needed a change. But I am also sure that we did have the best proposals in this campaign.
JA: What is the message for those who did not vote for you?
RV: I invite them to get involved in this project that was born today. I am calling for a pact of unity for San Miguel in order to build the city that we all deserve. I am very committed and excited because there are a lot of people who will help me to achieve this dream.
JA: Many public servants from city hall were working in other candidate’s campaigns during the electoral process. Now they are nervous due to the arrival of a different party to the local administration. What would your message be for them?
RV: In democracy nobody loses. There are very valuable people in all parties and the different sectors of society, and they all are welcome in this project. Besides, the city council will be pluralistic, and we will make the best agreements for the city.
JA: It is normal in politics that the candidates visit people and shake their hands, hug them, and even kiss them in order to get their vote. You visited the rural communities and neighborhoods to find out how they live. Will you go back to visit them? How do you guarantee your closeness with people?
RV: The modern politicians cannot be one person in campaigning and a different one when elected as a public servant. The work of a mayor is (that) of very close contact with the citizens in order to solve their problems. I love campaigning, and the next three years I will be on campaign because I will keep visiting people to solve their problems. The work of an administration cannot be possible if it is not with the citizens. Every Wednesday, sanmiguelenses will have the city council and the cabinet all together at the old city hall building and can talk with them to get answers to their petitions.
JA: You talk of a campaign. Would it be with the goal of being reelected in 2018?
RV: I will not be campaigning for a public service post but for fulfilling the commitments I made being a candidate. The mayor cannot be an untouchable person; he cannot be away from reality and has to be with the people.
JA: How will you fulfill or overcome the expectations from people who believed in your project?
RV: With a lot of work—that is the only way of responding to those that freely voted for a change. I do have a big commitment now, and I am excited because we will be able to achieve many projects that we proposed in campaign, and I am also happy because I know that those citizens will help me to make it possible.
JA: According to people, your brother Luis Alberto has been one of the best mayors that this city has had. Are you ready to be compared?
RV: If there are comparisons, that is good. I will try my best, and actually I will try to perform better than he did. Luis is the example of a mayor who was always in contact with the people; good things like those deserve to be imitated. We learned that at home, and the night I won the election, my mother told me, “I command you to fulfill your commitments,” and I will.
JA: During your campaign you talked about the construction of a road to connect the road to Querétaro with the road to Celaya. Will it be possible?
RV: That is a project that comes from a long time ago, and the state government already has some documents. Governor Márquez assured me that he is committed to make it possible. It is a project that a local administration cannot pay for, but I will work with the state and federal government to make it happen. There is a lot of work to do yet, like that of releasing the land. What I can tell you now is that we will construct a road to connect Los Rodríguez with colonia San Luis Rey and another road that will go from San Luis Rey to the road to Querétaro.
JA: Could you tell me two of the proposals that you had and how to make them possible?
RV: Social development needs to be better so we can improve the quality of life for those most in need. We will provide them the basic services of potable water, electricity, and drainage; we also will work hard to give people the legal certainty of their plots so they can live in a decent place. We will improve the recreational spaces in rural communities and neighborhoods. The Cuevitas Community Center will be a reality and one of the biggest centers in Guanajuato. It is important because it will provide social development to people as well as employment. The economic development will always be linked with the social. If there is economic development, there is social development. The economy will be possible with the attraction of private and public investments. We will bring investments that will generate employment in tourism, industry, and technology. If there is more employment, we will live better, and there will be more security.
The insecurity needs to be attacked with opportunities, respect for the law, and better and well-trained police officers. We will ask for help from the state and the federation as well as from the private sector. We will all build the police department that we need so they can take care of us.
JA: Will you go back to the federal congress?
RV: I will be back at the federal congress only with the goal of getting resources for San Miguel de Allende. At the same time I will work on my governance plan and team. I will also participate in the assignment of the 2016 public federal budget, and I will give my best to benefit San Miguel and its people.
JA: What is the message for the foreign community?
RV: They will be very welcome. I know the importance they have in this city because they have helped to construct the city that we have nowadays. For them, the Department of Liaison with Nonprofit Organizations and Foreign Community will be strengthened and will be totally bilingual. They are also invited to get involved in my project.
JA: Is there something else that you want to mention?
RV: We will give our best and will work hand in hand with the citizens; the best is yet to come.