Flamboyant Flight Attendant Elected Mayor of Del Rio
DEL RIO, TX — Saturday, the citizens in the City of Del Rio elected a new mayor. He’s a young, vibrant U.S. Air Force veteran. He graduated from Del Rio High School in 2001.
But before Election Day on May 5, photos of Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano appeared on the Facebook page called the Del Rio Trading Post. The photos showed him prancing down the street in tight red underwear, a tutu, and high heels. The photos were republished in the Zocalo, the newspaper for sister Ciudad (or city) Acuña across the Texas-Mexico border from Del Rio.
In November of last year, Zocalo reported, “Ralphy” was the center of attention at the city’s annual Veterans’ Day Parade. He wore a camouflaged hat, red coat, black trousers, and stiletto high heels with the U.S. flag blazoned on them.
Lozano doesn’t tell voters exactly where he works, only that it is for a “major international airline.” After a short stint as an Air Force Security Police enlisted trooper, Lozano said he went into banking and found the career choice lacking. Then he got into the airline business, according to recorded interviews we watched.
Flight attendants and pilots with airlines work on a trip schedule that offers multiple days of off-duty time that will offer Lozano, who claims multiple generations of family heritage in Del Rio, time to govern.
How did Lozano win?
He took a message directly to the people of Del Rio via social media. He took time to be seen and videoed at major landmarks in the city. He explained his purpose was to bring less conflict and find common ground. It helped that his opponent, long-time Del Rio politico, attorney and now outgoing Mayor Robert Garza was a terrible candidate.
Garza could be seen over the years running the Del Rio City Council meetings like the council was his personal junta. Three years ago, he was shown on a City video of a council meeting publicly berating and humiliating the female city attorney.
More recently, and during the campaign, Garza was videoed at a Del Rio News-Herald forum, with droopy jaws, browsing his phone, appearing disinterested and put-out while Lozano spoke of a new and exciting era of Del Rio. Lozano talked economic development and bringing hope and opportunity back to Del Rio while Garza angrily fiddled with his smartphone right next to him on the debate dais. Lozano wasted no time publishing excerpts of the video on social media showing the contrast.
The impact was devastating for Garza’s prospects of reelection.
When the ballots were counted, Lozano defeated longtime incumbent Mayor Robert Garza 2,128, or 61.54 percent to 1,330, or 38.46 percent.
Observers of the election warn that Lozano shouldn't take away the idea that there was a movement behind him. Instead, it was a vote against Garza. Turnout was low. Only 3,458 voted for mayor out of a city with a population of 36,000. Many in Del Rio are taking a wait-and-see attitude. Lozano hasn't paid his dues by serving on council prior. He has no experience and hasn't even lived in Del Rio until recently. He knows what the popular campaign keywords and phrases are to get attention, and votes. Does he have a reasonable plan to enact them? Time will tell.
Del Rio had enough of the Garza administration and was willing to take their chances on a young, unproven, and, shall we say, flamboyant new mayor.
Ironically, Del Rio has for decades been known as the Queen City.