Valles tells a local paper that she took the job to help the town's people become less fearful. "Afraid? Everyone is afraid and it's very natural. What motivates me here is that the project [to make the community safer] is very good and can do a lot for my town. I know that we are going to change and remove this," she said.
One Mexican criminology professor told the Arizona Republic that getting elected to public office in Mexico "is like winning a tiger in a raffle."
"Before, it used to be an attractive job, living on the public payroll," said Dante Haro of the University of Guadalajara. "Now being a town mayor is very difficult, not just because of the economic problems but also this issue of obedience to organized crime."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently that Mexico is "looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago," when drug lords had a chokehold on many public officials.
A young Guadalupe citizen complained to Valles, "We are spending a great part of our lives locked up inside our homes," according to a Spanish-language paper. Valles responded that she wants to encourage more events for young people in the town.
More than 23,000 people have died in the country's drug violence since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels in 2006.