(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?
Rabeea Collier; Judge, 11th Civil District Court in Harris County, Texas
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
The civil district court handles civil disputes between two parties, which may involve any combination of private entities, public organizations, or individuals. The civil court often determines liability on the part of one party for the damages caused by the other. Some examples of cases that this court may hear are personal injury, breach of contract, business disputes and malpractice matters.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I am running for this bench because not only do we need a judge that is qualified but also we need a judge that is able to bring a diverse perspective to the court. As a native Houstonian, a mother of two boys, first-generation American, and the first person to attend law school and become a lawyer, I understand firsthand the issues that face our communities. With that, I will look to bring those unique perspectives to the bench to help me be a judge that is compassionate but confident in my deliberations and decisions.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
I am an experienced attorney with nearly a decade of experience working in the legal profession. Through this work, I have represented individuals, non-profits, and large corporations in courtrooms across Harris County. I have also represented both plaintiffs and defendants in litigation at trial before juries and judges in a wide range of the law and industries. Additionally, I have been heavily involved in the community and in politics. Before I decided to run for judge, I have served as Precinct Chair, Senate District 4 Precinct Delegation Chair, Senate District 4 Credentials Committee Member, Senate District 4 Convention Parliamentarian, Senate District 4 Convention Nominations Committee Chair, Senate District 4 Convention Delegation Chair, and as a Texas Democratic Party Neighborhood Volunteer. I am a native Houstonian and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.
5. Why is this race important?
This race is important because we need judges – and a justice system – that treats every person that walks into the courtroom with the same level of dignity and respect no matter their background or standing in life. Oftentimes the justice system is only accessible or equitable to those of a higher social status or income class, and I believe that we can help change this dynamic with our vote. Community leaders that are supporters of my campaign for judge have also noted that this race is critically important because this court has never had a woman or a person of color as judge of this Court.
6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?
Democrats should vote for me in the primary because not only do I have the knowledge, skills, and background necessary for me to be an effective judge, but I have also been committed to the Democratic Party for years before I thought about running for elected office. I believe that this unique background and my commitment to Democratic values makes me the best choice to be the Democratic nominee for Judge of the 11th Civil District Court in Harris County.