Candidates line up for election filings

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Nov. 11, 2013 at 5:11 a.m.

Republican and Democratic primary voters will have their pick come March for federal, state and local races.

With 17 offices in Victoria County up for election, candidates jumped on the opening day of the filing period to put their names on the ballot. Filing is open through 6 p.m. Dec. 9.

Ron Reyna, a Victoria electrical contractor, filed Saturday for county judge on the Democratic ticket. Incumbent Judge Don Pozzi filed Monday with the Republican Party for a fourth term.

"I think it's time for some change," Reyna, 53, said. "I think we need a little more transparency in government. There's a lot of stuff that happens that you don't ever hear about until it's too late."

Pozzi, a Vietnam veteran, has said this will be his last run for office. He has held office three terms.

As for the call for change, Pozzi said it's up to the voters.

"I personally do not think it's time for a change, or I wouldn't be running," he said. "My attitude is, if you have someone who has done a good job and continues to do so, simply because they have been there for three terms means it will only get better in the fourth."

This is not Reyna's first try at office. He ran for county judge in 2010 but lost in the primary to Judge Don Pozzi and ran for Precinct 3 commissioner in 2008 but lost in November to Republican Commissioner Gary Burns.

Under Pozzi's leadership, the county has maintained the same tax rate for a decade.

Reyna called it "smoke and mirrors." As appraisals increase, the county's revenue does, too.

He said he is concerned about the county's limited water resources and wants to see environmentally concerned businesses in town.

Pozzi said he wants to finish what he has started with the courtroom expansion and the relocation of several county offices to the recently purchased Hartman Distributing building.

"We have accomplished an awful lot in the last 11 years, but we always have room for improvement and more to do," Pozzi said. "The state that Victoria is in and the growth it's experiencing and how well we are doing economically - I just wanted to run one more time and finish some things that we have going on."

Cris M. Gonzalez filed for Victoria County Democratic County Chair.

Gonzales has led the Democratic Party since September.

Sean Kennedy filed for re-election as Victoria County treasurer on the Republican ticket.

Kennedy, 57, was first elected in 2007 on the Democratic ticket.

Kennedy said he sees his role as a watchdog over the county's treasury.

"As an elected official, I represent the taxpayers' eyes in protecting the county funds," he said.

Always a fiscal conservative, Kennedy said the decisions he makes are done with the same care he practiced throughout his business career.

"The investments in where the county's funds are invested are very conservative, and that is in policy with the Public Funds Investment Act," he said.

Jennifer Zeplin, a juvenile probation officer, filed with the Republican Party for Justice of the Peace Precinct 4.

With a background in teaching, Zeplin, 39, said she hopes she can have a greater impact in the lives of Victoria's youth as a justice of the peace.

"I love what I do now, but I think I can make more of a difference in that position," she said.

This is her first time to run for office.

Victoria attorney Ted Seel was appointed to that Justice of the Peace office in October 2012. As part of his appointment, Seel agreed he would not run for office.

Daniel Gilliam filed with the Republican Party for re-election for County Court at Law No. 2 Judge.

Jane Bernal, 55, filed with the Democratic Party for district clerk.

Bernal, who has worked as the Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 clerk for four years, said the election presents a new challenge.

"I enjoy working in civil and criminal law," she said.

She ran in 2012 for county tax assessor/collector.

She said she wants to maintain a transparent office and bring more awareness to the community about more convenient ways to take care of court business through electronic filing.

She also wants to bring Democratic leadership back to the district court.

"We're for the people," she said. "It's a people's court, and that's what I'll bring back to the district court."



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