A new face to the political scene is looking to become only the second Hispanic woman elected to the Nueces County Commissioners Court.
Gloria Caceres and her husband, Armando, have two children and three grandchildren. She is a lifelong resident of Corpus Christi and is the former chief of staff for District 33 State Rep. Solomon Ortiz Jr.
She will be facing former Corpus Christi City Council member Jesse Noyola and former Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1, Place 1 Joe A. Gonzalez in the March 2 Primary Election for the Democratic nomination. The winner of the primary race will face Republican Gil Hernandez in November.
Caceres said she has been involved in politics for most of her life, spending time volunteering with the American G.I. Forum and other political organizations. She was chief of staff for Ortiz from 2006 to August 2009, stepping down in order to run for office.
Although it is her first time running for office, Caceres gained the endorsement of the outgoing commissioner, Betty Jean Longoria, who announced last year she would not be seeking reelection. After making her announcement, Longoria then endorsed Caceres as her replacement.
"I was very honored," Caceres said. "I have seen the passion that she's had for her constituents."
Caceres said her time as chief of staff allowed her to make connections with the local state delegation, along with other offices in Austin that may prove to be beneficial when the time comes to seek state funding for projects in Precinct 2.
That experience gives her an advantage over her opponents, she added.
"I've very aware of a lot of the issues," she said. "As chief of staff, I had to be on top of issues that pertained to the county and the state."
Caceres said she shares Longoria's views on the importance of addressing problems in the rural areas, particularly those pertaining to drainage and diabetes education. Members of her extended family live in colonias and her husband is a diabetic.
"That is why I am so passionate about (those issues)," she said.
With discussion recently taking place at Commissioners Court meetings about the possibility of a countywide drainage district, Caceres said she would support the creation of such a district, but was unsure about the need to dissolve Robstown's and Bishop's districts in the process.
But it is the possibility of being given a chance to serve the people that has Caceres confident she will emerge victorious from the Primary Election.
"I think I can bring a fresh perspective to county government," she said. "That's what it's all about - staying in touch with your constituents and staying in touch with the people you represent."