SAN ANTONIO – The race so far to replace retiring Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff is marked by the diversity and public service records of those who’ve announced or are still undecided.
The candidates and potential candidates include an Asian-American, a Latina and a Latino, each with years of experience in public service.
Wolff announced his retirement would be at the end of next year after 20 years as county judge.
The first to declare his candidacy was Peter Sakai, who retired from the bench of the 225th District Court last month to run for county judge.
After more than 25 years on the bench, focusing on children and families in crisis, Sakai said, “I think I’ve established my character, my reputation, my integrity.”
Sakai said, being a judge, “I had to develop the ability to listen intently and with empathy to two sides of a legal dispute,” then apply the rule of law and issue a decision a higher court could potentially review.
A former prosecutor, defense attorney and an ad litem attorney for foster children, Ina Minjarez was elected in 2015 to represent District 124.
“I’ve been House trained,” Minjarez said by serving in the Texas House of Representatives. “I had to work in coalitions. I had to learn to work across the aisle to be effective, and I was effective.”
Still mulling his decision, Ed Garza served on the city council before being elected as San Antonio’s youngest mayor in 2001. He was elected in 2009 to the SAISD school board, where he continues as board president.
“My journey in public service has been a blessing,” Garza said.
But Garza said he’s still an urban planner at heart and by training.
“That’s what I like to be involved with, the big picture visions that transform lives, that transform places and most importantly, the people,” Garza said.
Garza said he’ll make his decision around Thanksgiving whether to run for county judge.
The deadline for others to jump in the race is Dec. 13, ahead of next year’s March primary and the November general election.