Two Robstown men with judicial experience are involved in a heated race for Justice of the Peace 5-1.

Judge Robert "Bobby" Gonzalez, whose four-year term expires at the end of the year, is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Lorenzo Rojas.

No Republican had filed for the position by the Jan. 1 deadline.

Gonzalez and Rojas faced each other in 1996, when Rojas won.

Gonzalez, 48, has been Justice of the Peace in Robstown since January 2001 and he is seeking a third term.

Gonzalez was born and raised in Robstown and graduated from Robstown High School in 1976. After graduating from high school, the son of Robert and Emilia Gonzalez, both of Robstown, attended Del Mar College where he received an associate's degree in science.

Gonzalez later attended Texas A&I University-Kingsville where he received a bachelor's degree in psychology, with a minor in Spanish.

He is working online towards a law degree at a university in Monterrey, Mexico.

Gonzalez and his wife, Leticia Gonzalez, have been married for 23 years. The couple has a 23-year-old son, who attends Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Gonzalez is a member of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Robstown. He mentors at St. Anthony's Catholic School and teaches junior achievement at Robstown High School.

He also teaches a community service program, America's Program, at Notre Dame University in Indiana every two years.

Gonzalez is on the board of directors of the Robstown Area Development Commission and owns two convenience stores in Robstown.

He also volunteers every second and fourth Saturday, cleaning up local parks and baseball fields.

Gonzalez's grandfather, Lee Gonzalez, was the Precinct 5 deputy constable in the 1950s.

Gonzalez said he is running for re-election "to continue the integrity that we've brought to the office, the unbiased approach we've brought to all the cases, and to continue serving the public as a public servant."

He said his goals are "to continue integrating the (justice of the peace's) office with the other j.p.s , finding solutions to our truancy and juvenile issues, and enhancing the economic strength of Western Nueces County."

"We always push the economic issues and we work well with all law enforcement agencies that trust the court," he said.

Rojas was the Precinct 5-1 Justice of the Peace for 16 years prior to Gonzalez, beginning in 1983.

Rojas, 71, is a Robstown native. He and his wife, Ofilia, have been married for 49 years. The couple has eight children, all of adult age.

Rojas is involved with youth football league in Robstown. He is also a member of St. Anthony Catholic Church and served as treasury of St. Vincent the Paul out of St. Anthony church for 15 years.

He was a member of the Coastal Bend Legal Services for six years, including serving at the national level on the National Advisory Council on Migrant Health.

Rojas said he is running to implement justice.

"I am running because I want the people of Robstown and my precinct to have services and justice," he said. "For 16 years when I was justice of the peace, I was never out of the office except for training."

He said his goals are to fight drugs and provide justice.

"My goal is to find solutions to protect our youth, and old alike, from the drug culture," Rojas said. "My goal is to help the people, to give them services in abundance, and most of all to give them justice that not only pleases them, but pleases God.

"I just wish that the people come out and vote their consciences. They know me and they know the services I delivered them for 16 years, that they did receive justice."