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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Velez relishes new groundbreaking role

Thursday, December 7, 2000

Hector Velez overwhelmingly won the special election held Tuesday to fill a seat on the Storm Lake City Council that had been vacated by Bob Ferguson. Velez received 444 votes and Sherise Gibson received 98.

Randy Persoon, who withdrew from the race last week, received 15 votes.

Velez, believed to be the first ethnic minority citizen elected to Storm Lake public office, works as the community liaison for IBP of Storm Lake.

"It's a very big responsibility and I intend to do the best to live up to people's expectations and be able to warrant the trust they placed in me by electing me," he said.

Being the first Hispanic member of Storm Lake's city council is a designation Velez is proud to carry.

"Somebody had to be the first," he said. "I'm just glad I had the opportunity to show that (Hispanics) can and intend to be part of the process."

Velez will start his duties immediately and will be sworn in at the council's next meeting December 18.

With the council preparing for its goal setting and budgeting process, Velez said he looks forward to getting involved with the issues. He is also excited to work with Storm Lake's new city administrator, John Call, who started this week.

Velez first ran for city council last spring to fill the vacancy created after Jon Kruse was elected mayor. The seat Velez was elected to opened after Bob Ferguson resigned from the council so that there would be not conflict of interest when his wife applied for a position at the Storm Lake Public Library. Ferguson later endorsed Velez' bid for the office.

Just under 11 percent of Storm Lake's eligible voters cast a ballot on Tuesday. The lowest turnout was in precinct two, where just under 8 percent voted, the high was in precinct three, where approximately 13.5 percent of those eligible voted.

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