Dr. Veeda Williams Wins Arcola, TXMayoral RaceAmid Controversy

Dr. Veeda Williams wins Arcola, Texas mayoral race, defeating incumbent Mayor Fred Burton by 15 votes. Burton faced allegations of attempting to silence and remove Councilwoman Ebony Sanco, sparking controversy and lawsuits.

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Dr. Veeda Williams Wins Arcola, TXMayoral RaceAmid Controversy

Dr. Veeda Williams Wins Arcola, TXMayoral RaceAmid Controversy

In a closely contested election marked by allegations and infighting, Dr. Veeda Williams has emerged victorious in the mayoral race in Arcola, Texas. Williams, an Arcola native, educator, and Air Force veteran, defeated incumbent Mayor Fred Burton by a margin of 106-91 votes.

The election was overshadowed by controversy surrounding Mayor Burton's actions against Arcola Position 5 council member Ebony Sanco. Burton faced accusations of attempting to silence and remove Sanco from her seat, with Sanco and two other council members suing Burton for taking illegal punitive action against them. The situation escalated when Burton hired a private investigator to spy on Sanco in an effort to prove she did not reside within Arcola city limits.

Why this matters: This story highlights the importance of accountability in local government and the need for elected officials to respect the rights and boundaries of their colleagues. The outcome of this election and the controversy surrounding it may have implications for the future of Arcola's governance and the trust its citizens have in their leaders.

Council member Ebony Sanco expressed relief at the change in leadership, stating, "I've been treated really bad by public officials... The amount of influence—negative influence—that the mayor had over them to break the law and just mistreat me, it just hurts me." Outgoing Mayor Fred Burton issued a statement disputing the election outcome, saying, "What happened yesterday [May 4] was not justice, and the citizens of Arcola are getting cheated out of their hard-earned tax dollars. The evidence shows clearly that Sanco lived outside of Arcola. The judge made his ruling on driver's license, voter registration and selfie photos. What a joke justice."

Leading up to the election, Burton was involved in other controversies. Council candidate Chris De Los Santos felt threatened by a Facebook message from Burton. The outgoing mayor also claimed to have received a noose and a threatening message urging him to get out of the race, which is currently under investigation by the FBI. The package, which lacked a postmark, is being tested forensically in an FBI lab on the east coast.

Dr. Williams, who taught in the sociology department at Prairie View A&M University, campaigned on promises to be fully committed to improving Arcola for all residents. She emphasized bringing common-sense solutions to problems and collaborating with neighborhood governments. Williams describes herself as a "servant" leader.

A Fort Bend County judge had previously ruled in favor of Sanco, determining that she lived within city limits and that Mayor Burton acted outside his authority in trying to remove her from office. The judge also ruled that the remaining defendants, including city administrators and attorneys, overstepped their authority by failing to add items to the city council agenda. Sanco reacted to the ruling, saying, "To anybody who feels like they're ready to give up, and they know what they're doing is the right thing, and someone is giving them a bunch of hell, keep going."