Editorial note: This is the eighth 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.
KenWenzel, candidate in the Republican Primary for Harris County Criminal Court at Law #10
Texpatriate: What is your name?
KW: My name is Ken Wenzel
T: What office are you running for?
KW: I’m running for Judge, County Criminal Court No. 10
T:What is your profession/occupation?
KW: I’m an attorney and a police officer.
T: In just a few words, what does the office you are running for do and what are its responsibilities?
KW: The County Criminal Courts handle mostly DWI cases. They also handle all Class A and Class B misdemeanor cases which include prostitution, Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission violations, family violence cases, and Driving While License Suspended cases. Those are the bulk of the cases heard. A few civil matters are heard in the county criminal courts, but that is mostly of an administrative nature.
T: If you are running against an incumbent (primary or general), do you think the incumbent has failed? If so, why specifically?
KW: We have an incumbent that has decided to retire after 30+ years on the bench.
T: What would be your three biggest priorities if elected?
KW: My biggest priorities would be to keep the staff in place, keep the docket down, and work with probation and the public defenders office to help get cases processed and hopefully cut the number of repeat offenders.
T: What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)? Why should people specifically vote for you?
KW: There are many things that distinguishes me from my opponents. I have been licensed longer than all but one of them, I’m a native Houstonian who understands Harris County, I’m an Army veteran, who has seen the legal systems of the USA, the Armed Forces, and Germany, I’ve put thousands of DWI suspects in jail, and I’ve had experience as a city attorney, a city prosecutor, and a civil attorney who has practiced in the Texas and Federal Courts systems. I have more life experience than any of them. I received the Blue Heart Award (the police version of the Purple Heart.) One of my opponents brags of her large amount of criminal cases the last few years, and that’s fine, but she hasn’t the rounded experience of practicing as many parts of the law as I’ve practiced. I’ve prated law, I’ve enforced the law, and I’ve both prosecuted and defended the accused.
T: What is the most important thing you have learned thus far in the campaign?
KW: I’ve learned that County Criminal Court 10 will end up with a decent person as judge. All my opponents are good hearted people. I just think I’m the most qualified and hope to get elected.