In a history-making event in , Clarissa Gonzalez, 30, announced to run against Loyd Neal for Nueces County Judge. Gonzalez, a Corpus Christi native, is a graduate of Ray High School and was a hard science major prior to entering into the business sector as an insurance broker. Gonzalez, if successful in November 2010 would be the first Hispanic female in the history of Nueces County to hold the highest county position of County Judge.
This young woman is a mother of 4 and has a company with over 80 employees. She is trilingual in English, Spanish and Japanese. Recently El Defenzor interviewed Mrs. Gonzalez and this is what she had to say:
Q: Why are you running?
A: I have a committment to our community. So many young people are leaving Corpus Christi to seek opportunities elsewhere and we have all the resources and the formula to keep jobs and industry here- all we need is transparent leadership and a sense of openness to new ideas and business opportunities. Corpus Christi has one of the largest ports in the country and is a shining example of a beautiful city that has both natural resources and people with a can do attitude.
Q: Tell us about what made you have an entrepreneurial spirit and why you launched your own business over the past several years?
A: My father was a shrimper here in Corpus Christi. His boat was called "Clarissa" (smiles) and he was a very hard worker along with my mother who instilled in all of us a sense of duty to community and commitment to our elders. Our business is family owned and I consider my 80 brokers and support staff who provide quality health plans to the elderly as extended family. I have traveled throughout the County, particularly the western part of the county, and visited with the elderly and their families. It is a sad state of affairs when an elderly person has to choose between food and medical treatment. As Judge of Nueces County I would ensure that increased quality health care services would be delivered to the indigent and the elderly who need it through increased and culturally sensitive preventative care clinics and health care outreach teams and centers.
Q: Tell us about what you mean by the phrase "an equal share of the pie"?
A: My daughter asked if I would take care of people when I'm a judge like I do as a mother. I told her, "yes, mommy will do just that" and she replied, good, "then everyone gets to eat the pie you make" and that is exactly what I vow to do as your Nueces County Judge: To provide a place at the table for Agua Dulce, Banquete, Robstown, Driscoll, and Corpus Christi and for everyone in Annaville and Calallen and all citizens of Nueces County. The county has been criticized for playing favorites with one side or another. I will ensure that people get a fair shake, be they in Corpus Christi or the western part of the county and I will make sure that health care and safe roads and transportation are a priority as well as education and the push for new jobs and industries. There is no doubt that for too long the western part of the county needed increased growth but it must be balanced by interventions to ensure that all of the county benefits from the incoming business and industry.
Q: Your background is that of an insurance broker and business person. How will you use this experience for the benefit of Nueces County?
A: My economic and business experience has provided me with a sense of fiscal responsibility, a belief of having small government, a desire to better our community's infrastructure and abide by the constitution of the United States and the separation of powers that is inherent in why our system works in America. I run my business in a fashion that holds all employees and departments accountable and provides for transparency. This is what we need on the county level. Efficiency for the citizens of Nueces County needs to replace the bureaucracy and affords the opportunity for transparency in open records. With the power of the internet, the gap in information, materials and accountability can be reduced. All taxpayers have the right to know where their money is going and we can make that happen. The reason the founding fathers wanted the press and the people educated and informed was to prevent and curb corruption and prevent the curbing of the rights of our citizens in a democracy. An educated public leads to trust and enthusiasm in our society, government and political systems.
Q: Many have asked the age-old political question: who is backing you?
A: I decided to run for office myself, and was pressured by no one. I am a lifelong Democrat and have sought broad based support and am not seeking the support of just one special interest group to prevent alienating anyone who wants to help our campaign. I am not beholding to powerbrokers and I intend to seek and maintain open channels with all interest groups and citizens of Nueces County. Our campaign is one of inclusion and is one that wants to bring everyone together to benefit the County.
Q: Any final words for our readers:
A: I am asking that all individuals who want to help our campaign to please register to vote, and make sure to actually get out and vote and bring several people with you to to please do the same. Your vote matters and it is true that one or two votes can change an election and a future of a community for the better. My campaign staff and I look forward to seeing all of you on the campaign trail. Please look for information on our upcoming web site, Facebook and headquarters information in order to volunteer, spread the message and help bring about the kind of honest and open government the public expects and deserves in Nueces County. I am also going to be broadcast on KTMV television and a simultaneous podcast of this interview shall be streamed on the internet so that I may introduce myself to the public and earn their trust and support.
Q: Thank you for your time and El Defenzor wishes you the best on your journey to be the first Hispanic female County Judge of Nueces County.
A: Thank you for your time and providing an alternative media outlet for all of South Texas and the internet.