Editorial note: This is the first in our series of electronic interviews with candidates in contested primaries at both the Statewide level and throughout Harris County. We have sent eight open-ended questions to each of the candidates. The following are verbatim copies of the questions sent out and the answers received.
Lori Gray, candidate in the Democratic Party for 113th District Court (Harris County)
Texpatriate: What is your name?
LG: Lori C. Gray
T: What office are you running for?
LG: Judge Harris County 113th Civil District Court
T: What is your profession/occupation?
T: In just a few words, what does the office you are running for do and what are its responsibilities?
LG: The 113th is a civil court and hears only civil cases. It is one of twenty five Harris County Civil District Courts which have concurrent jurisdiction with county courts at law over cases with an amount in controversy of up to $100,000 and exclusive jurisdiction of civil cases with an amount in controversy over $100,000. The types of cases heard in the civil district courts range from simple to complex and involve many different areas of the law. Some examples of the types of cases heard in civil district courts include contract disputes, employment discrimination, fraud, breach of duty and negligence cases.
T: If you are running against an incumbent (primary or general), do you think the incumbent has failed? If so, why specifically?
LG: I have an opponent in the Primary election who is not the incumbent
T: What would be your three biggest priorities if elected?
LG: 1) I will provide clarity to litigants by conducting an initial hearing within 60 days after a new case is filed. This will encourage communication between the parties and the Court and most importantly give the parties an opportunity to identify particular issues in their case.
2) At the initial hearing the parties will be required to submit a proposed Docket Control Order identifying the areas of agreement on scheduling and areas of disagreement so that a final Docket Control Order can be entered. This process will do away with automated Docket Control Orders that are not tailored to the particular needs of the parties.
3) Because I want to reduce wasted time and expense for everyone, all litigants and all counsel (both local and out of town) can attend hearings in person or via telephone or via video conference.
T: What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)? Why should people specifically vote for you?
LG: Working Men and Women of this community should support me if they want a person of considered substance and decency on the district court bench. A person who believes fully in the notion of social justice. A person who promises to dispense justice in her court room fairly, impartially, and with the highest regard for the rights of every litigant. A person who understands the cicil [sic] courts are often the courts of last resort for those who have suffered physical and mental harm, economic harm, discrimination, wrongful termination, or other deprivations of their civil and human rights.
T: What is the most important thing you have learned thus far in the campaign?
LG: The most important thing that I have learned is to make myself available to the ordinary citizens who are looking to make our community better, and discussing solutions with them of how to achieve this goal.