Judicial Q&A: Bob Thomas

(Note: I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. There are a lot of judicial races on the ballot in Harris County this election, and so this is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to those who plan to vote in March. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. I will also be conducting some in-person interviews of candidates who will be involved in contested primaries for non-judicial offices. Please see my 2010 Election page for a full list of Q&As and interviews.)

1. Who are you, and what are you running for?

My name is Bob Thomas and I am a candidate for Judge of the 270th Civil District Court in Harris County. I am a third-generation native Houstonian. I earned my undergraduate and law degrees while working for the City of Houston as a Patrolman and Sergeant of Police for the Houston Police Department. I retired from HPD with twenty years of service. My wife, Pam, and I have been married for forty years. We have three daughters and have been blessed with five grandchildren. We are eagerly awaiting the birth of our sixth grandchild this summer!

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

As a Civil District Court, the 270th hears civil lawsuits, including, but not limited to, personal injury, contract disputes, business disputes, consumer cases, medical malpractice, oil and gas cases, real estate matters, labor/employment disputes and many other kinds of cases other than criminal, probate, juvenile and family law.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I am running for a civil district court bench because I have been a practicing civil trial attorney for twenty years, representing clients in civil courts in Harris and other Texas counties. I believe the role of a District Court Judge is to apply – not make – the law, by listening, understanding and acting as a neutral referee.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

As a civil trial attorney, I have filed and resolved approximately one hundred lawsuits, and represented more than one thousand individual clients, for both plaintiffs and defendants. I also have more than thirteen years experience as a mediator and as an arbitrator (third party hearing examiner). I have presided over approximately forty arbitrations for the Texas Education Agency, in which I publish Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. In serving in this judicial capacity, I have gained valuable experience which will equip me to successfully preside over the 270th Civil District Court with respect, fairness and efficiency.

5. Why is this race important?

Of course, every judicial race is important. Citizens come before our civil district courts seeking justice. They deserve to have an experienced, qualified judge that will make sound rulings, based on the rule of law.

6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?

I have worked my entire life to earn a reputation for integrity, dedication and a strong work ethic. I have been active in the city’s legal and law enforcement communities throughout my forty year career. My experience as a Sergeant of Police, an attorney and counselor of law, corporate counsel and hearing examiner equips me to judge fairly, accurately, impartially and with respect for the law.

My reputation has earned me support and endorsements from a broad range of important, respected organizations, including:

Coalition of Harris County Democratic Elected Officials

Houston Black American Democrats (HBAD)

Harris County Tejano Democrats

Area 5 Democrats

Harris County AFL-CIO Council

Baptist Ministers Association of Houston and Vicinity

Northeast Harris County Ministers Alliance

Afro-American Police Officers League (AAPOL)

Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT)

Harris County Deputies’ Organization

Houston Police Officers Union (HPOU)

Houston Police Patrolmen’s Union (HPPU)

Metro Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 98

Police Officers Looking Into Courtroom Excellence (POLICE)

My commitment to the citizens of Harris County is to serve the 270th Court wisely and with impartiality, to treat every litigant with respect, and to operate my courtroom with professionalism and efficiency as a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars.

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