UVALDE, Texas – “It all goes back to the day of the tragedy,” Javier Cazares, father of 9-year-old Jacqueline Cazares, who was killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting, told ABC News.
The video above is from a previous story.
Javier is running as a clerical candidate for District 2 Ovaldi County Commissioner.
He said, “I am a mother first and my main goal is to fight for what is right; to do what needs to be done here.” “Not only for my daughter and her friends who survived, but also for her colleagues who survived.”
A cooking event was organized to kick off Javier’s campaign on Saturday and welcomed community members and several self-proclaimed Angel families who also lost loved ones during the May 24 massacre.
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Nikki Cross, the aunt and guardian of 10-year-old Aziya Garcia who was also killed in Rob, said she was confident Javier would represent the interests of families affected by the tragedy. “As a sad father, he has a great passion for change,” Cross told ABC News. “It’s just what we need.”
The Casares family, among many other Ovaldi, went to the Texas State Capitol in Austin and the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., to demand stricter gun control in the aftermath of the shooting.
Javier is a longtime gun owner and has not held any political office. He advocates for what he calls “common sense laws for firearms,” such as extending background checks to event records and raising the maximum purchase age to 21.
“After the shooting in Parkland, Florida, they were able to change a file [state] He told ABC News in three months. “I’ve never thought about politics, but I want to fight for change and talk about unheard voices.”
At the culinary event, Cazareses set up a rock painting station for his supporters to make decorative rocks for Jacklyn’s rock garden.
Jasmine Cazares, the eldest daughter of Javier, was there supporting her father. “It’s not just his kids he’s looking for — they’re everybody’s kids,” she told ABC News. “Because you don’t want to lose your son like my parents did.”
Among the other candidates, Javier is running against Mariano Vargas Jr. – the city’s acting chief of police on the day of the shooting. Pargas was suspended after the Texas House of Representatives committee investigating the tragedy released a damning 82-page report explaining the failure of responding officers to protect the students.
Vargas said he has received support from members of the community despite the controversy, and he hopes his 24-year term as county commissioner will speak for himself. “I hope people will remember the good things you did for the community,” Vargas told ABC News. “I want to continue to serve the community well.”
See related story: What we know about 21 Texas school shooting victims; A widowed teacher dies of a heart attack
The commissioner said he is proud of his work with low-income children, his community clean-up initiative and ongoing road improvement plan.
“At the end of the day, it’s up to the people – what they want,” Vargas said. “If they want change, by all means.”
Meanwhile, at the cooking party, Javier said Vargas isn’t doing enough to facilitate Ovaldi’s change. He said, “I lived in this area for 10 years, and in that time there was no change. We have bad roads, bad street lighting, and there is nothing for children to play on.”
Berlinda Areola, mother-in-law of victim Amyri Jo Garza, addressed the crowd, saying, “He may not have the same amount of money in his pocket, but he will work hard for us.”
She said, “No one works harder than the underdog, and don’t forget that the underdogs have won the Super Bowl.”
“This is personal to him and to all of us,” added Javier’s wife, Gloria Casares.
When asked about his opposition, Vargas said he wished the best for Javier and the other candidates in writing, and offered support if he lost to one of them. “Anything I can do to help them once they take office, I would be more than pleased,” he added.
The elections will be held on November 8.
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