Mother of Uvalde shooting victim to run for mayor of town

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UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) – Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed last year in the Robb Elementary School shooting, is planning to turn her grief into action, after announcing Thursday she will run for mayor of Uvalde, Texas, in an upcoming special election.

“This past year, it’s been so frustrating navigating our country’s political system, and sometimes you have to be the change you seek. So, here I am running for mayor,” Rubio told Nexstar.

The 34-year-old mother is looking to fill the soon-vacant seat held by Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin in an upcoming special election on Nov. 7. 

McLaughlin has served as the South Texas town’s mayor since 2014, and has reached his term limit. He is now running to succeed Rep. Tracy King, D-Uvalde, in the Texas House. 

Mata-Rubio shared news of her run for mayor Thursday. On social media, she addressed her daughter directly, explaining why she chose to take action.

“I grieve for the woman you would have become and all the difference you would have made in this world,” Mata-Rubio wrote. “I grieve for the woman I was when you were still here. But, one part of me still exist, I am still your mom. I will honor your life with action. This is only the beginning.”

Lexi, 10, was one of the 21 people killed at Robb Elementary on May 24, 2022, in the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting. In the year since, Mata-Rubio has been a regular at the Texas Capitol and U.S. Capitol, advocating for tighter gun restrictions she believes will help prevent other parents from feeling her pain.

“Bridging the gap in our fractured community is my number one focus. And the reason being is because we cannot move on or forward without the entire community coming together,” she said. “And when I say moving on, I want to bring those two teachers and 19 students with me along on this journey. That’s the only way to do this. And the only way to move forward and they deserve that they’re part of this community as well.”

Mata-Rubio will face off against Cody Smith, a banker and former mayor of Uvalde, in the Nov. 7 special election. No other candidates have announced a bid for the seat. 

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