The Houston Chronicle reports that Susan Criss, a longtime District Judge and Democrat from Galveston, will resign her bench in order to run for the State Legislature. The astute will recall that in May, amidst my coverage of the mishegas in the Galveston court system (i.e., Christopher Dupuy), I noted that longtime State Representative Craig Eiland would be retiring. Eiland, a Democrat, represents a nominally Republican district that includes the arch-conservative Chambers County as well as parts of Galveston County. While the island itself and most the coastal mainland is still deep blue, more and more of the County has turned bright red as a result of being assimilated into Houston’s suburban community. Accordingly, this seat provides a pickup opportunity for Republicans that was not even in play in 2010.
Criss is a political celebrity in Galveston, being the next-in-line of a politically aristocratic family. He father, Lloyd Criss, is the longtime Chairman of the Galveston County Democratic Party and previously served as the Representative in the same Galveston district from 1979 to 1991. The younger Criss, to my knowledge, is the only Democrat running for the post and the Chronicle article notes that they could not find any Republicans either. The filing deadline is on Monday.
Brains and Eggs has more, specifically Judge Criss’ main announcement:
“For fifteen years I was honored to wear a black robe for the people of Galveston County. Four times I raised my hand and swore, so help me God, to faithfully execute the duties of the office of the 212th District Court of Galveston County, Texas and to the best of my ability protect, preserve and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of Texas.
While I dearly love this job, it is time for me to serve my community in a different capacity. In order to do that I am required by law to resign from this position before December 9, 2013. I sent a letter to Governor Perry resigning from this bench effective at 5 pm December 6, 2013. I ask that he appoint someone to fill this term.
On Sunday December 8, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. I will file for the office of State Representative of District 23 at the Texas Democratic Party office in Austin.
For a decade and a half I administered justice to the best of my ability. I tried to be fair to everyone who appeared before my bench. When I was a young prosecutor, Judge Raymond Magee told me that the man who drives to the courthouse in a pickup truck deserves the same justice as the man who drove there in a Cadillac. I never forgot his words and aspired to live up to them every day.
I was addressed as “Your Honor”. That was an appropriate term, but not because I was special. It truly was my greatest honor to be able to serve the people of Galveston County in our justice system. I loved this job, the people I worked with, the lawyers who appeared before me, and the people I served.
One sign on the door of my courtroom reads: ”This court belongs to the people.” The other has a quote by Sam Houston: “Do right and risk the consequences.” Both signs reflect my beliefs about justice and about government service. The pink granite building in Austin also belongs to the people, the ones who drive Cadillacs, the ones who drive pickup trucks and the ones who cannot drive at all.
The people of District 23 deserve strong effective representation in the Texas House. I am excited about working hard to ensure that District 23’s voices are heard in Austin.”