Editorial note: This is the second 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.
Julia Maldonado, candidate in the Democratic Party for 246th District Court (Harris County)
Texpatriate: What is your name?
JM: Julia Maldonado
T: What office are you running for?
JM: I am a Democrat running for the 246th District Court (Family)
T: What is your profession/occupation?
JM: I am an attorney in private practice for over fifteen years. I have primarily practiced family law, but have also worked in criminal law, wills/probate, and Alternative Dispute Resolution. I am the only candidate in the race who is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
T: In just a few words, what does the office you are running for do and what are its responsibilities?
JM: The Judge of the 246th Family District Court primarily deals with family matters, including divorce, custody, adoptions, visitation, among other matters.
T: If you are running against an incumbent (primary or general), do you think the incumbent has failed? If so, why specifically?
JM: This is an open seat.
T: What would be your three biggest priorities if elected?
JM: My first priority would be to make the court more welcoming, ensuring all parties feel that they have been served with respect and impartiality. Secondly, as attorneys become accustomed to the online filing system, I will promote an atmosphere of cooperation during the transition. Finally, as challenging as it may be, I would promote campaign finance reform that would curtail the amount of influence campaign money plays in the family courts.
T: What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)? Why should people specifically vote for you?
JM: As opposed to my Primary opponent, I have been an active candidate, fundraiser, and campaigner. I was proud to be one of the top Harris County vote-getters in 2012 in my race for the 14th Court of Appeals in which I out-polled the Republican candidate by over 12,000 votes, while earning 47% in a 10-county race. I have a track-record of campaigning in all parts of the County, which is needed in 2014. And if chosen by Harris County Democratic Primary voters, I will be one of the few Latinas on the ballot, ensuring a diverse alternative to what is offered by the Republicans. Although any candidate can boast about their experience, voters should strongly take into consideration who will campaign the hardest to achieve victory in November, and I am that candidate who in the past has stepped up to the challenge.
T: What is the most important thing you have learned thus far in the campaign?
JM: The most important lesson I learned was actually in my 2010 Democratic Primary race: Get help! A candidate, even if not greatly funded, must have a tight-knit group of supporters willing to take on various campaign tasks to free the candidate to be the candidate. The people–the voters–matter in a Democratic Primary and in the General Election, and a candidate must not take any vote for granted. Because of a great campaign team, I’ve had the privilege of campaigning across the county and meeting voters since the summer of 2013.