School Shooting Victim's Mom Is Running for Mayor

'I will honor your life with action,' says Kimberly Mata-Rubio
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2023 8:37 AM CDT
Updated Jul 28, 2023 10:37 AM CDT
School Shooting Victim's Mom Is Running for Mayor
Kim Mata-Rubio, who lost her daughter, Lexi at Robb Elementary School in May, waits for Beto O'Rourke to arrive at a rally in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022.   (Jessica Phelps/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

A year and a half ago, a mayoral election in Uvalde wouldn't have been news outside the immediate area—but that was before the Texas city became the site of one of America's deadliest school shootings. Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter, Lexi, was one of 19 children killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting, CBS reports. "I grieve for the woman you would have become and all the difference you would have made in this world. I grieve for the woman I was when you were still here," she wrote in a tweet on Thursday. "But, one part of me still exist, I am still your mom. I will honor your life with action." She says Lexi had dreamed of becoming a lawyer when she grew up.

Mata-Rubio is running in a special election to replace Don McLaughlin, mayor since 2014, who is stepping down to run for a state House seat. Mata-Rubio, 34, is an advertising executive at the Uvalde Leader-News. "It would be easy to run from the issues that plague our town, but I have decided to remain in Uvalde and be part of the change that is long overdue," she tells the newspaper. "Our town has become stagnant. Our leadership became comfortable, which led to the events that unfolded on May 24, 2022. The aftermath has added to the trauma of a grieving and fractured community. It is my hope to bridge the gap because only when we come together can we evolve to something greater."

In the months after the mass shooting, which also killed two teachers, Mata-Rubio became a vocal supporter of gun control, while her husband Felix resigned from his job at the sheriff's department because he was disillusioned by the "bungled law enforcement response" to the shooting, per a Texas Monthly profile. "I used to tell Felix, 'Lexi's going to make a difference in this world,'" she told the magazine. "Just wait and see." The only other candidate currently in the race is Cody Smith, a former mayor who is senior vice president at First State Bank of Uvalde, reports the San Antonio Express-News. (More Uvalde stories.)

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