Note: This entry is part of a series of written Q&As with judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. I am also doing recorded interviews with non-judicial candidates.
1. Who are you, and what are you running for?
My name is Fred Cook and I am running for Judge in the 215th Civil District Court of Harris County, Texas.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
This Court hears exclusively civil cases and is the highest trial bench in the Texas judiciary. My 25 years of practice have been exclusively in civil litigation.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I screened with the committee of Democrats who were recruiting potential candidates for the judicial races and they asked me to run in this particular race.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
a. I am the only candidate in this race with over 25 years of civil litigation experience in Harris County and throughout the State of Texas.
b. I am the only candidate in this race who is admitted to practice in a federal district court and I am admitted and have practiced in all four federal districts in Texas, as well as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
c. I am the only candidate that has received a rating from Martindale Hubbell. This system is peer review by other rated lawyers and my rating is the highest rating an attorney can receive from his peers for both legal skill and ethics. I have held this rating for over 10 years.
d. I have served as a director of the litigation section of the Houston Bar Association.
e. I have spoken at various seminars on issues ranging from insurance defense to testifying in depositions and at trial.
5. Why is this race important?
This race provides Democrats with an opportunity to elect a qualified and successful Democratic lawyer who has excellent credentials and experience that will be fair and impartial in dealing with any litigant who comes before the 215th Civil Judicial District Court.
6. Why should people vote for you in the Democratic primary?
I believe that judges should be elected based upon their experience and ethics. My best recommendation in this regard comes from my experience and also, and possibly more importantly, from other lawyers. Through Martindale Hubbell, other lawyers have anonymously rated my skill and ethics with the highest rating which exists, AV. That means other lawyers have rated my legal skill as superior to preeminent and my ethics rating is the highest allowed. I have held this rating since 1997. The fact that I am the only candidate in the race to be admitted to practice in federal court (and I am licensed and have practiced in all four Texas districts and the Fifth Circuit) demonstrates a further depth and breadth of judicial experience that separates me from both of my other opponents. All my work experience in the last quarter century has been in civil law, which is exactly what this court does. Finally, and most importantly, I pledge to bring that skill and experience and that ethical standard to insure that all litigants before the 215th Civil Judicial District are treated fairly and impartially and with the respect that every person deserves. This job is a public trust and I believe my qualifications and background demonstrate that I will carry out that trust better than any other candidate in this race.
I am a lifelong Democrat who has worked in campaigns beginning in 1972, when my mother had to drive me to the McGovern headquarters. I have served as a Democratic Precinct Chair and election judge in my home precinct in Bellaire and, in 2006, Ellen Cohen carried my Bellaire precinct in her Democratic bid for state representative. Since coming to Houston to begin my practice in 1982, I have attended two state conventions and numerous senate district conventions and precinct caucuses. I have the experience, skill and temperament to insure that every litigant who comes before the 215th is treated fairly, impartially and with respect.
I have also been involved in public service throughout my career. I have served as:
a. an initial member of the Bellaire Chapter of the Caring for Children organization (prior to the CHIP) program;
b. a director of the Texas Conference of Churches, a statewide organization that promotes communication and coordinated mission of the various denominations in Texas;
c. a commissioner to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, PC(USA)
d. an officer, volunteer and Sunday School Teacher at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Bellaire Presbyterian Church and ChristChurch Presbyterian.
Jim Wrotenbery, candidate for 125th District Court (Civil).
Diane Trautman, candidate for Harris County Tax Assessor.
Judge Susan Criss, candidate for the Texas Supreme Court, Position 8.
Joe Jaworski, candidate for State Senate, District 11.
Baltasar D. Cruz, candidate for Texas Supreme Court, Position 7.
State Rep. Garnet Coleman, District 147.
Armando Walle, candidate for State Representative, District 140.
Carol Alvarado, candidate for State Representative, District 145.
Andres Pereira, candidate for 190th District Court (Civil).
Ron Reynolds, candidate for State Representative, District 27.
Sam Houston, candidate for the Texas Supreme Court, Position 7.
State Rep. Jessica Farrar, District 148.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 29, 2008 to Election 2008