City of Arcola elects first Latino mayor

News

ARCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — For the first time in its history, the city of Arcola elected its first Latino Mayor.

Jesus Garza topped Mark Smith by 28 votes in a four-way race.

Garza moved to Arcola from Mexico 28 years ago, and has since raised four kids and started his own business called 3 J’s Transmission. When asked about starting his business back in 2005, he said, “Basically, we started from zero, from nothing. We spent the last of our savings on a down payment to buy the corner on Main and 45 and we’ve just kept growing and growing and growing and we are so good so far.”

He said he could not have done any of this without the support of the people in his town, and he hopes that as mayor, he can give back to the community who gave him so much. 

A lot of his support comes from the Latino community, including the owner of Vita’s Food Truck. Cynthia Guajardo said, “He’s doing the right thing all the time. And I learned that from him, doing the right thing, getting your license, getting your permits… that’s how you can follow the rules. I see his business growing, so it’s a good example for me.” She also mentioned the impact he will have on kids in the community. “I think for the kids it’s like, you can do it, yes you can.”

Garza says he plans to focus on safety first by installing better street lights and fixing the sidewalks.

One of his supporters, Francisco Jaber, said he hopes the Mayor will help bring more support for soccer programs in the city. Garza says he’ll do his best. He said he’s talked with local businesses about building an enclosed facility so people can play soccer year-round.

Garza will officially be sworn in next month. He will replace long-time Mayor Larry Ferguson.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.