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 Harold J. Landreneau, I am a Democrat, a proud father and an Attorney.
I am running for Harris County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Place 1, and I will be on the Tuesday March 4, 2008 Democratic Primary Ballot. As Judge, I will bring a new vision, energy and leadership to the Court and represent all the constituents of Precinct One in a balanced, patient, dignified and courteous manner. I will work tirelessly for you as Judge and reestablish the ties of the Court with the community of Precinct One. People coming to our Court expect and deserve the best from their elected officials, and I will place the business of the people first and make our Court the most effective and efficient in the State.
2: What kind of cases does this court hear?
Justice of the Peace (JP) Courts in Texas handle several types of cases, both Criminal and Civil. The Criminal cases include: Class C Misdemeanor Criminal Cases such as truancy, issuance of bad checks, simple assault, traffic tickets and health department violations. The Civil Cases are Evictions, Small Claims cases and Justice Court Suits where the amount in controversy is $10,000 and less. JP's can also hold hearings for permits to carry concealed weapons, hold driver's license revocation hearings and perform weddings.
3: Why are you running for this particular bench?
I want to be the Judge at this Court and I know I am the most qualified candidate to do the job properly. This election is about change. This Court has lost its connection and responsiveness to the Community. The focus of this Court is no longer the business of the people and that calls for a change in leadership. I will bring a new vision, energy and leadership to the Court and represent all of the constituents of Precinct One in a balanced, patient, dignified and Courteous manner.
I was asked to run for this bench several times by the incumbent early last year because he was going to retire at the end of the current term. I was told he was tired; he could no longer do the job and didn't want to do it. He changed his mind apparently about retiring in October of 2007, but never shared that with me.
As with any public office, the incumbent should want their position and have a strong desire to provide the best service possible to their community. When that desire to lead the office and serve the public is no longer present, the public suffers and it is time for a change. Because of this leadership crisis created by the incumbent's inability and unwillingness to perform the job, I stepped up and filed to run for this bench as I was requested to do more than a year ago.
I will change the focus and direction of the Court and make Juvenile Crime and Truancy the top priorities of the Court. I will treat all who come before the bench with dignity and respect. I will reduce the wait time for cases to be heard, saving time and money for all involved. I will also work full time as a Judge to reduce the backlog in the Court. I intend to provide the constituents of Precinct One with an efficient, well-trained Court, responsive to the needs of the community.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
I am highly experienced in Texas Justice Court, I am extremely qualified for this job and I will be a fair Jurist. I am a licensed Texas Attorney and a trained mediator. I have experience practicing in JP and Municipal Courts all over Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties. I am an Eagle Scout and Scout Leader and the only candidate in this race with real trial attorney experience. I am also a trained mediator and served as a Democratic Precinct Chair and Election Judge for 5 years.
I earned my J.D. Law degree from South Texas College of Law and my B.A. in Political Science from the University of Houston. I attended the Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution at South Texas College of Law and became a trained mediator and I am a Certified Justice Court Clerk through the Texas Justice Court Training Center.
I also have 14 years of experience working in this Court before I became an Attorney. I have held virtually every leadership position in this Court and I have managed the daily operations of this Court for the last eight years as the Chief Clerk. During that time I supervised the 26 Clerks in this Court and the collection of $3.4 million a year in county funds. I made frugal use of taxpayer dollars while operating the Court on a $1.5 million budget by saving taxpayer funds and cutting expenditures.
I was also responsible for hiring and firing employees and all other HR functions. I have prepared and worked thousands of Civil and Criminal trials in Court.
I am also well acquainted with how Harris County Government works and how to get
things done in the County. For many years I assisted Assistant District Attorneys in Court with disposing of misdemeanor cases, and performed legal research for them and the Court.
I was a 3rd generation Union Member of AFSCME for 8 years and I am a former Vice-President of the Heights Democrats. I am active in the Greater Houston Heights Bar Association and the Houston Bar Association where I serve on the Administration of Justice Committee.
I can step into this job tomorrow with no training and do an excellent job for the citizens of Precinct One.
5. Why is this race important?
This race is about the future for our children in Precinct One. Will the Court continue to hear truancy cases and expand the current "Stay in School Program," or will we allow this program to wither and die because the incumbent doesn't want to commit the resources of the Court to this most important priority? This Court needs a new direction, vision and leadership. We need a Judge on this bench who wants to serve others and who wants to work full time, not just 20 hours a week. We need a Judge who will consistently be on time for dockets and not keep litigants waiting for 30 minutes or more. We need a Judge who enjoys hearing Civil Cases and wants to be there and will not keep rescheduling them. We need a Judge who cares about the community and who wants to eliminate the backlog in the Court. I will be that Judge and I am the future for this Court.
6. Why should people vote for you in the Democratic primary?
Because I want to serve the people and I want the job. I have worked in and around these types of Courts during the last 16 years as an attorney, court clerk and an educator. I know what the job requires, how to get things done and the proper way to treat litigants and their attorneys before the bench.
I have been endorsed in this race by State Representatives Jessica Farrar & Borris Miles and by the Mexican-American Bar Association.
I am extremely qualified for this job and I will be a fair Jurist. I can step into this job tomorrow with no training and do an excellent job for the citizens of Precinct One.
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.
Fred Cook, candidate for 215th District Court (Civil).
Adrian Garcia, candidate for Harris County Sheriff.
Steve Kirkland, candidate for 215th District Court (Civil).
David Mincberg, candidate for Harris County Judge.
Kyle Carter, candidate for 125th District Court (Civil).
Dan Grant, candidate for US Congress, District 10.
Judge Linda Yanez, candidate for the Texas Supreme Court, Position 8.
Larry Joe Doherty, candidate for US Congress, District 10.Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 14, 2008 to Election 2008