(Note: I am running a series of Q&As for Democratic judicial candidates on the November ballot. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. These Q&As are primarily intended for candidates who were not in contested primaries. You can see those earlier Q&As, as well as all the ones in this series and all my recorded interviews for this cycle, on my 2010 Elections page.)
1. Who are you, and what are you running for?
I am Kathy Vossler and I am running for the 280th Judicial District Court.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
The 280th District Court hears every Family Violence Protective Order cases filed in Harris County. It is the only court of its kind, and as such is a very important court.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I believe that I am uniquely qualified for the Domestic Violence bench. I have a lot of experience in handling domestic violence cases as a practicing family attorney. I understand how important these cases are, from every standpoint. I understand the dynamics of relationships that involve domestic violence, and I am familiar with the resources in our community that are available to assist families who are in a domestic violence situation. I feel very strongly that we must elect a Judge to this bench who truly understands, is qualified and has the experience. I am the only candidate who fits that description.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
I am a family lawyer, and have been practicing primarily family law my entire legal career. In the course of my family law practice, I have handled many domestic violence cases. I have represented the victims of domestic abuse, the perpetrators of domestic abuse, the children of domestic abuse, and persons wrongly accused of domestic abuse. I have seen domestic violence cases up close, from all sides, and many, many times. This experience will allow me to hear all sides, decide each on its merits, in a way that is just, fair, and based on the evidence presented.
As a family lawyer, I have a lot of experience in high-stress, high-conflict, emotionally charged and potentially dangerous disputes. These are the types of cases that I will regularly hear, as judge of the 280th District Court. I have a calm demeanor. I am professional. I do not pre-judge, and I am fair. These are very important qualities for the Judge of the domestic violence court.
Before becoming a lawyer, I was a single parent. I raised my three children while working my way through college and law school. I earned a degree in political science from the University of Houston in 1993, graduating magna cum laude. I went on to the University of Houston law school, where I graduated cum laude. I then opened my own family law practice, and have been doing that ever since. I have real life experiences as a business owner, a single parent, someone who has experienced the family court system, someone who has worked hard and struggled to create a life for my family. All of these experiences combine to form a solid foundation. With that foundation, I am the right choice for the 280th.
5. Why is this race important?
The 280th District Court is the only court in our county of 4 million that is specifically designated to hear and decide Family Violence Protective Order cases. There is no other court, no Associate Judge, no jury, to hear and decide these cases. This means that, as the voters of Harris County, we must very carefully choose the right judge for this bench. Domestic violence impacts every segment of our society. It impacts people of every race, religion, income-bracket, gender, gender-preference, education level, ethnicity, country of origin and area of town. In addition to the families involved, domestic violence has an impact on the officers who are called to the scene, the friends, neighbors and co-workers of the parties, the teachers and classmates of the children. Domestic violence can scar a child for life. A domestic violence case can have a direct impact on a person’s divorce case, custody case, criminal case or immigration case. It can end in tragedy on the news that affects us all.
There is a big difference between my opponent and me. I have experience in family law and domestic violence cases. Her last sixteen years have been spent in civil cases – contract disputes, eminent domain and personal injury cases. The cases are different. The experience is different. The candidates are different. Harris County deserves a judge in this unique court who understands the issues she will be hearing.
6. Why should people vote for you in November?
I am the only candidate with experience, the qualifications and the demeanor to sit as Judge of Harris County’s only Domestic Violence court. My opponent has spent her law career in civil cases. We need someone in this family violence court who knows family law and understands domestic violence.