Representative Aaron Peña has announced he's switching to the Republican Party. News Center 23 confirmed with The Guardian that Peña made that announcement Tuesday afternoon in Austin, along with Texas Governor Rick Perry. His decision came weeks just before the legislative session begins.
"I think the GOP party, we're all excited having Mr. Peña come on board. He's always been one of the most conservative legislature in the valley," said Javier Villalobos, Chairman of the Republican Party of Hidalgo County.
News Center 23 met up with him after hearing word that Representative Aaron Peña switched his political party. According to Villalobos, the tradition in the Upper Valley of voting democrat is over and that more people are more aware of the issues at hand and want the right person to represent them.
"The Valley has changed a lot in the Hispanic community especially, they are more educated and there's a lot of business owners," added Villalobos. "The Republican beliefs are more in line with the nation as a whole and now in the Valley we have the last strong hold of the democrats, but I think it's shifting and I think it's going to change pretty quickly now."
The announcement came as a blow for Upper Valley Democrats. "I think he's done a good job for us in Austin, i hate to loose a good man," said the Mayor of Edinburg, Richard Garcia. " I am first of all very surprised. I'm Trying to figure it all out and analyze what the thought may be. The best I can figure is, this has something to do with redistricting coming down here and we all heard if you can't beat them, join them, and maybe that's what he's thinking."
Garcia went on to say, switching political sides Peña may have a difficult time getting re-elected in the future.