(Note: As I have done in past elections, I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. 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. You can see all of my interviews as well as finance reports and other information on candidates on my 2016 Election page.)
1. Who are you and what are you running for?
My name is Elaine Palmer and I am the presiding Judge of the 215th Civil District Court. Our Civil Justice Court is a tool for righting wrongs, equalizing the disparities between the rich and the poor, leveling the playing field between the powerful and the powerless, and achieving social justice. I understand that our civil courts are often the last resort for those who have suffered physical, mental and/or economic harm, discrimination, wrongful termination, or deprivation of their civil and human rights. It has been my job for the past three (3) years to ensure that my courtroom is a place where people are treated with dignity, respect and a sense of urgency. I am committed to make this happen and to continue to strive to get better.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
The 215th Civil District Court hearings cases involving disputes between parties who have suffered physical, mental and/or economic harm, discrimination, wrongful termination, or deprivation of their civil or human rights.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I am running for the 215th Civil District Court because this was the first Civil District Court in Harris County that an African American elected to the bench.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
I have served as the presiding Judge of this Court for the past three (3) years and prior to serving on the bench I practiced law for fifteen (15) years as Solo Practitioner. I represented clients from all financial backgrounds and it was my mission to treat each of them with dignity and respect.
5. Why is this race important?
This race is important because as I said above our civil justice courts are often the last resort for those who have suffered physical, mental and/or economic harm. Our Civil Justice Court is a tool for righting wrongs, equalizing the disparities between the rich and the poor, leveling the playing field between the powerful and the powerless and achieving social justice.
6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?
My desire to serve the citizens of Harris County and to continue the reforms that I have brought to the 215th Civil District Court. My reforms have improved efficiency, reduced costs and provided certainty for the parties and their lawyers. It is my goal to make sure that all citizens are treated with dignity and respect. I will continue to bring compassion, understanding and reason to my rulings in the 215th.