A political newcomer who has never held public office, Clarissa Gonzalez is looking to unseat a well-known fixture in South Texas politics and become the next county judge for Nueces County.
Gonzalez and her husband, Robert Janosek, are raising five children together. She is a graduate of Ray High School and owns her own insurance brokerage, helping elderly and disabled customers obtain Medicare coverage.
Gonzalez said she decided to run for office in order to help create a better quality of life for the young people in the county.
"What really happened is, as a parent of (five) children, you really start looking at things in perspective and what is happening with our county and what is happening with our city has not been viewed in a good light," she said.
Gonzalez said she feels the county is not growing fast enough and, if elected, she would work to improve the technology infrastructure in the county. This, she added, could lead to more growth in the county by making the area more attractive to businesses and young people who may be leaving to larger cities.
"Basically, if you look at Nueces County, the majority of the areas around us have grown and have jobs, and we don't," she said. "What's the problem? In my eyes, and in the eyes of the people who have inspired to run for this office, the leadership must not be doing something right."
In reference to the issue of flooding and drainage in the rural areas of Nueces County, Gonzalez said she does not support the formation of a countywide drainage district, and would rather turn to seeking federal and state assistance to pay for any drainage improvements.
Gonzalez said she has been "assured" by serving U.S. representatives, including Solomon P. Ortiz, who said they would work with her, rather than current County Judge Loyd Neal, to address the issue if she is elected, but did not elaborate further.
"Obviously, as a person who has not been elected, there is very little you can do, very little power you can have in negotiations," she said. "But I know I have been assured that they will work with me to make sure that things get done."
Gonzalez said she would make it her top priority to bring jobs to the area.
"I believe technology is the wave of the future," she said. "Everybody knows that jobs follow a workforce that is ready to meet them."