Danny Valdez

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Danny Valdez

County Judge of Webb County, Texas
In office
January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2014
Succeeded by Tano Tijerina

Born Augut 8, 1953
Laredo, Texas
Nationality Mexican-American
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Isabel Valdez
Children Danny Valdez
Alma mater Martin High School
Laredo Junior College
Religion Roman Catholic

Danny Valdez (born August 8, 1953) is the former county judge for Webb County, Texas. He is the 22nd person to have held the elected office since Webb County was established in the southern part of the state in 1848. He served four years with the United States Navy and twenty-four years as a justice of the peace before becoming county judge in 2007.[1]

He won Democratic Party re-nomination in the runoff primary held on April 13, 2010, by defeating his eventual successor in the office, Laredo businessman and former professional baseball player Tano Tijerina. In the primary election held on March 2, Valdez led Tijerina by a narrow margin. Two other candidates trailed, former District Court Judge Andres Ramos and former Webb County Judge Louis H. Bruni, Valdez's predecessor in the office.

Background

Valdez was born the second child of Eliseo and Lucinda Valdez and was reared in the Canta Rana neighborhood in Laredo's west side. He attended Farias Elementary School, Christen Middle School, Martin High School, and the former Laredo Junior College, which was renamed in 1993 as Laredo Community College. He worked as a Webb County personal recognizance bond officer before his election as a JP in 1982. His son, born in 1988, is also named Danny Valdez.

Justice of the peace

Valdez took a particular interest in working with the youth during his time as a JP. With the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, he brought inmates to Laredo's middle and high schools to tell their life stories in an effort to educate and warn students about the dangers of wrong choices. Valdez worked with the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust to develop a Boy Scouts camp and an inner-city recreation center. He co-chaired Laredo's annual "Toys for Tejanitos Drive" to benefit needy families, and he chaired an annual fishing derby for physically challenged students. Valdez started the Special Student of the Month Program that recognizes physically challenged students from area high schools. He started an annual fishing derby for mentally-challenged youngsters from area high schools. He chairs the Annual  Avery Johnson Basketball Camp which allows students to sign up for the camp and perform community service in lieu of paying a camp fee. He has awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships to pupils in the Laredo Independent School District. [1]

Election as county judge

Not wanting to lose his JP position, Valdez did not declare his candidacy for county judge until January 1, 2006, giving him a little more than three months before the pivotal Democratic primary. He faced the incumbent county judge, Louis H. Bruni, and a multi-term county commissioner, Judith Gutierrez. Valdez sailed to victory with 37 percent of the vote in the initial primary and 62 percent of the vote in the runoff against millionaire businessman Carlos Y. Benavides, III. Bruni ran fourth, failed to garner a runoff berth, and later switched to Republican affiliation and lost a race for the Texas State Senate in 2008 against Democrat Judith Pappas Zaffirini. [2] There were no second-party challengers. The Texas Observer, an Austin-based political magazine, attributed Valdez's win to his humble background, his tireless grassroots campaigning and his image as an honest, decent citizen.[3]Louis Bruni returned to the Democratic Party to challenge Valdez on March 2. Judith Gutierrez, meanwhile, sought unsuccessfully to return to her previous county commissioner seat in the April 13 runoff but was defeated by the incumbent commissioner, Rosaura Tijerina, the aunt by marriage of Tano Tijerina.

References