I’m not usually in the breaking news business around here, but today I have some: Judge Dale Gorcynski, who has served as Justice of the Peace in Precinct 1 since 1992, will not be running for re-election next year. I know this because he told me himself. He wanted to make sure that his decision became known early enough for people who might be interested in running for this bench to have the time to get organized and collect the petition signatures they’ll need to qualify for the ballot. He noted that when he first ran in 1992, there were nine candidates on the ballot. I don’t know that there would be that many this time around, but it wouldn’t shock me.
Judge Gorczynski will have been an elected official for 37 years by the time he finishes his term next December. He was elected to Houston City Council in 1979 – the first Council member in the newly-created District H – and served there for 13 years before winning election to the JP bench. Recalling what Leonel Castillo once told him, he said that people who want to make a career out of elected office need to have a certain madness in them, to go through campaigns and withstand all of the politics that goes with it. He said he may finally have gotten over that, and he looks forward to the next phase of his life.
What will he do next? He’s not sure yet. He’s been able to do other things during his life – advocacy, teaching, writing – and he may do any or all of them, as well as other things. He’s still figuring out what, and may not really get a handle on it till he’s not doing what he’s doing now. As someone who would have no idea what to do if I had to leave my job tomorrow, I have a lot of sympathy for that. He does say that his plans do not include any future runs for office.
Judge Gorczynski says he really enjoyed being a Justice of the Peace – if he could have had his choice of any bench to be on, JP would be it, as it was a great fit for him. It offers a lot of flexibility in devising outcomes, it has allowed him to bring in law students to do mediations, and as the saying goes, it’s “the people’s courthouse”. He gave a lot of thought to his decision to not run for re-election, and he feels confident that there will be plenty of good candidates to succeed him. As a resident of Precinct 1 – and of District H, for that matter – I thank Judge Gorczynski for his service and wish him all the best with whatever comes next.