- Associated Press - Sunday, January 20, 2019

EDNA, Texas (AP) - The longtime mayor of a small town in South Texas is stepping down after almost 40 years in city politics.

Edna Mayor Joe Hermes recently announced that he won’t be seeking re-election in May, the Victoria Advocate reported. The 75-year-old was first elected mayor in 1987, after spending several years on the City Council.

“I’ve been in City Hall for over half my life, and I think it is time to retire,” Hermes said. “When I first got in, I was a councilman. I’ve been the mayor for 32 years, but it never entered my mind that I would be there for that long at all. I was just fortunate.”

Under Hermes‘ leadership, the city has built three parks and a swimming pool, moved City Hall to accommodate the police department and navigated through economically difficult times, he said.

“We have made a lot of steps forward,” he said. “I just don’t want to stand here and make it sound like everything has been perfect because it hasn’t. I just am hoping I will leave office with the town a little bit better than the time I came in.”

The retiring mayor said he plans to stay involved in the community, but he’s leaving his public service career to spend time with his family. He also plans to sell his accounting business.

Councilman Lance Smiga said Hermes has had a profound impact on the community.

“To put it very, very simply, after serving this community for 40 years and pouring his heart into the community, I view Joe as Edna and Edna is Joe,” Smiga said. “His commitment to the city of Edna and the citizens is both admirable and, more importantly, exceptional.”

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Information from: The Victoria Advocate, http://www.victoriaadvocate.com

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