State district judge announces run for Texas House

RIO GRANDE CITY — Days after announcing her resignation from the bench, state district Judge Ana Lisa Garza announced she would be running for state representative for District 31.

Supporters crammed into the 229th district courtroom, where she had presided for seven years, and applauded as she entered the room.

“I guess this is my last time saying you may be seated,” she said, eliciting laughter from the crowd whom she thanked for their support over the years.

“While I was here, I learned a lot of things,” Garza said, adding that one of those things was that people who came to her court needed a voice outside of the courtroom. “I felt like not only the people that came before me needed a voice but our community needed a voice and we needed a voice in Austin.”

Garza will be running against current State Rep. Ryan Guillen who was elected to the office in 2002. District 31 represents 10 counties including Starr, Atascosa, Brooks, Duval, Jim Hogg, Kenedy, La Salle, Live Oak, McMullen, and Willacy.

Garza earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&I University, now Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and earned her juris doctor degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

After law school, she went into private practice and then decided to run for 229th district court judge in the 2010 election when her predecessor, Alex Gabert, announced his retirement.

She ran unopposed in 2010 and again in 2014. Her current term was set to expire Dec. 31, 2018.

Her resignation was effective immediately, Garza said, and visiting judges will be hearing the court’s cases until Gov. Gregg Abbott chooses a replacement.

Toward the end of her speech, she removed the judge’s robe she had donned for the occasion.

“I will retire this robe with a somber heart, but not a heavy one,” she said, “because I know that I will be here for you — here for all of you and for all of District 31 if you will allow me.”