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For more than 30 years, the name Veronica Vela-Whitacre has been associated as a helper, a leader, and a mover and a shaker. Throughout the past eight years, Vela Whitacre has solidified this reputation by serving her community as City Commissioner for District 6 and Mayor Pro Team. McAllen is ready for new leadership, and Veronica Vela-Whitacre has officially filed for a spot in the mayoral race on the May 2021 ballot. As signs for all candidates begin to pop up around town, one has a familiar face for the community. You may have seen Veronica at a city function, working alongside you at a philanthropic event, or on the McAllen hike and bike trails. She is known throughout McAllen as someone who will find a viable solution for any problem people come to her with.
Veronica Vela Whitacre is a McAllen native, having graduated from McAllen High School. She then attended Incarnate Word College (University of the Incarnate Word) and worked in San Antonio as a social worker for several years before returning to her hometown and marrying Dr. Michael Whitacre. Her husband is a University Professor and together they have two sons: Joseph and Julian. She later returned to school and began her work as an educator, teaching for a total of seventeen years before opening her own business which led to her tenure in health care management. She was able to take her business expertise into the non-profit sector and currently serves at the Executive Director for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Hidalgo County, an organization that serves as the voice for abused, neglected, and foster children in the court system.
Her family roots in the Rio Grande Valley stem back over 200 years in ranching and agriculture. Over the past seventy years, Vela-Whitacre’s family has worked in education, governmental civic leadership positions, and as prominent business owners who helped shape the McAllen economy from its early stages. She continues this tradition of civic involvement through her long-standing service and work alongside the people of McAllen.
Veronica has served on various boards, including Easterseals, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the International Museum of Arts and Science, the Community Development Block Grant, and as the president for the McAllen Boys and Girls Club. She was also a member of Leadership McAllen and the McAllen Education Foundation. Vela-Whitacre has worked tirelessly and is an integral part of our community. More recently, she was instrumental in the acquisition of additional funding for the McAllen Anzaldua’s Bridge to expand infrastructure.
Veronica Vela-Whitacre was elected in 2013 to serve her community as McAllen City Commissioner for District 6 and has worked for the needs of her constituents and for the good of our city as a whole. During this time as City Commissioner, she received recognition from Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move!’ Campaign for implementing the ‘Run, Ride, and Share’ program in McAllen. She also implemented “Operation Clean Sweep” in collaboration with the Cities of McAllen, Edinburg, Pharr, Mission, Edcouch, Elsa, and the Texas Department of Transportation. As part of her passion to move McAllen forward, she acquired funding for emergency call boxes and bike repair toolkits that were placed along the hike and bike trails and around our city’s parks. Veronica also created a book sharing program in which ‘Book Nooks’ are placed around the city so park-goers can leave a book or pick up a new one to read. Her appreciation for McAllen’s outdoor spaces inspired her to lead the initiative to improve and expand city tennis courts as well.
Her hands-on approach allows her to fully understand what her constituents are experiencing, and it is this active approach that led Vela-Whitacre to identify key issues in her platform. Developing a conscious economic revitalization plan to overcome COVID-19 setbacks, addressing the need for traffic flow improvement and infrastructure, revising decades-old ordinances, and most importantly, reviewing the city’s budget are all on Vela-Whitacre’s to do list.
These experiences are a testament to her ability to continue to lead McAllen’s legacy. Veronica Vela-Whitacre has been a part of McAllen’s successful growth and is dedicated to the city’s future as the next, and first female, Mayor of McAllen.