The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Meet-and-greet draws crowd in support of new councilwoman

Clark Vargas poses with Councilwoman Ozuna as his family members take their picture. Vargas and other residents attended a meet-and-greet with the new councilwoman Feb. 8. Photo by Sylvia Hernandez

By Sylvia Hernandez

Before Jan. 11, San Antonio Firefighter John Lujan had never heard of Leticia Ozuna.

 

But, after hearing her speech at a mid-January council meeting, he was immediately impressed by her fight for the city’s District 3 seat, which had recently been vacated. He said he just had to meet her – and he did.

 

Lujan shared these details with a reporter during Ozuna’s meet-and-greet event on Feb. 11 at the Bode Community Center on the Southeast Side of San Antonio.

 

The event gave constituents an opportunity to connect with their new councilwoman. Ozuna spoke before a crowd of more than 150 people about the need to bring technology to the area, improve the economic vitality of the South Side and taking action to preserve the quality of life in District 3. She also touched on the Pecan Valley Golf Course which closed suddenly in early January, just before her appointment.

 

Immediately upon entering the community center, it was standing room only. The atmosphere was festive with a Valentine’s Day theme and lively 70s dance music could be heard coming from the main room just before Ozuna delivered her speech.

The councilwoman, appearing confident and relaxed, expressed her gratitude and thanks to those that helped her pursue the council seat, including many members of the District 3 community, but especially her parents, Ted and Sylvia Ozuna.

 

“They set the bar very high in terms of hard work, community service, public commitment, and civic engagement and action,” Leticia Ozuna said of her parents.

Numerous relatives, longtime family friends and even Ozuna’s high school debate teacher, Debbie Dehlinger were present at the event.

“Lettie’s always been deep into things — always thinking, always researching and always learning,” Dehlinger said. “She is not afraid to give her opinion but she doesn’t throw her support towards anything unless she’s done her homework.”

Lujan was among the few people at the event who didn’t seem to know the councilwoman on a personal basis.

When he did get to meet her, Lujan told Ozuna, “I love what you stand for. Man! The district needs someone like you.”

Although Lujan said Ozuna wowed him with her knowledge and passion for technology, he didn’t think her unknown political face and limited experience could win the position.  He did, however, encourage her not to give up.

But to Lujan’s surprise, City Council appointed Ozuna, 45, to the District 3 seat the following day.

He attended the meet-and-greet because he was excited for Ozuna and wanted to show his complete support.

Immediately after Ozuna spoke, the music resumed. Many people, young and old, lined up to meet her and have their pictures taken with her.

Several Ozuna staff members also attended, including Deputy Chief of Staff DeAnne Cuellar and Rosie Arismendez, who works with field office community development.

“I like what she said about creating jobs.  She seems enthusiastic and serious about her work,” said attendee Joseph Garza.

Ozuna worked the room all evening, moving from table to table. She greeted everyone with hugs and smiles, never taking a moment to sit down.  Yet, at the end of the night, she still appeared full of energy.

Afterwards, family and friends stayed to help clean up. As balloons and decorations were taken down and the last chairs were folded, Ozuna was asked one final question: How do you feel at this very moment?

Councilwoman Ozuna took a deep breath and replied, “Humbled! I feel very humbled.”

About the Author

Melody Mendoza
Melody Mendoza
Melody Mendoza is the Comunidad Editor for The Mesquite. Previously, she reported on the development of the year-old Main Campus Building and Brooks City-Base Campus, and has followed Texas A&M-San Antonio's growth through its plans for two new buildings. Melody is a communication-journalism major, serves on the Student Media Board and is a freelance reporter and part-time editorial assistant for the San Antonio Express-News. She is a 2008 East Central High School graduate, an award-winning reporter for The Ranger (San Antonio College's student newspaper), and a youth leader at her church.

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