TEMPLE — Former Councilwoman Judy Morales, who resigned in March under pressure, triumphantly returned to the City Council on Thursday.
City Attorney Jonathan Graham announced the results of Saturday’s election, in which Morales received 109 votes, or 63 percent. Cynthia Arriaga finished second with 53 votes, or 31 percent. James Dean Zeptner got seven votes, or 4 percent, followed by Gregory Wise with three votes, or 2 percent.
After she took the oath of office for the District 2 seat, Morales smiled and said, “I can breathe again.”
“Congratulations and let’s get back to work,” Mayor Danny Dunn told Morales.
Morales was the target of an investigation earlier this year into allegations that she ordered the destruction of public records after an open records request from the Temple Daily Telegram.
She pleaded guilty to those charges, but said she wanted to continue to serve District 2 residents and was re-elected last week.
“It feels great to be able to get back to work. I love Temple and want the best for all citizens. I want to leave a legacy for our children and grandchildren,” Morales said.
She said it’s time for council members to put past issues behind them.
“I reached out to the other members of the council, and I know in their hearts they want what is best for the people of Temple, and so do I,” she said. “This is a new era, a new beginning. It’s time to move forward.”