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Daniel "Danny" Valdez


Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 1, 2007
Preceded by Louis H. Bruni
Constituency Laredo, Rio Bravo, El Cenizo, Auilares, Botines, Bruni, Callaghan, Darwin, Islitas, La Presa, Laredo Ranchettes, Larga Vista, Las Tiendas, Los Ojuelos, Mirando City, Oilton, Pescadito, Ranchitos Las Lomas, Santo Tomás, Webb

Born August 8, 1953 (1953-08-08) (age 56)
Laredo, Webb County, Texas
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Isabel Valdez
Children Danny Valdez
Residence Laredo, Texas
Alma mater Martin High School

Laredo Junior College

Occupation Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Danny Valdez (born August 8, 1953) is the County Judge for Webb County in south Texas. Valdez is the 22nd person to hold the elected office since Webb County was established 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 is a candidate for Democratic renomination in the April 13, 2010, runoff primary. His remaining opponent is 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.

Contents

Early life

Valdez was born the second child of Eliseo and Lucinda Valdez. He was reared in the Canta Rana neighborhood in Laredo's west side and attended Farias Elementary School, Christen Middle School, Martin High School and Laredo Junior 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. He worked closely with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to bring 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 making the wrong choices. Valdez worked with the Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust to develop a Boy Scouts camp and an inner-city recreation center. He also co-chairs Laredo's annual "Toys for Tejanitos Drive" to benefit needy families, and he chairs 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 on a monthly basis. He also 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 also awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships to Laredo Independent School District students. [1]

Election as county judge

Not wanting to lose his Justice of the Peace position, Valdez did not declare his candidacy for county judge until January 1, 2006, giving him a little more than three months before the Democratic primary. He faced two millionaires, including the incumbent county judge, Louis H. Bruni, and a multiterm 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 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 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, is seeking to return to her previous county commissioner seat in the April 13 runoff but faces the strong competition from incumbent Rosaura Tijerina, no relation to Tano Tijerina.

References

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