After being appointed by Gov. Rick Perry as interim district attorney for Nueces County, Democratic incumbent Anna Jimenez said she is hoping voters will choose to keep her in office because of her commitment to seeking justice.
Jimenez, a native of Corpus Christi, is a graduate of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She also taught at Incarnate Word Academy for two years while working on her master's degree. Jimenez later received her Juris Doctorate from Texas Southern University after attending the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston.
After being in private practice for six years, Jimenez joined the District Attorney's office in 2006, where she was a special prosecutor assigned to the Child Victims' Unit.
She and her husband of six years, Larry Martinez, currently reside in Corpus Christi.
After finding out former District Attorney Carlos Valdez was resigning, Jimenez said she was asked by many of her colleagues to run for the position.
"I loved what I did in my job as a (Child Victims' Unit) prosecutor. Even though it was a significant pay cut from private practice coming here, I loved what I did," she said.
"People asked me if I would consider (running). They'd seen my work and some of the judges had mentioned it to me," Jimenez added. "I'd never wanted that or ever wanted to do something political - I just knew I wanted to do something good for the community."
After giving it some thought, Jimenez later applied for the position, along with former First Assistant District Attorney Mark Skurka. She was later appointed by Perry, and wasted no time in addressing issues she said were prevalent in the office, the most common of which was backlogged cases.
"When I was selected, I started working really, really hard to do what needed to be done here in the office," she said.
During her first few weeks in office, numerous veteran prosecutors either resigned or were dismissed by Jimenez, the most well-known of which was Skurka. He is now Jimenez's Democratic opponent in the Nov. 2 General Election. Jimenez said Skurka had not tried many cases during the last few years as First Assistant, leading to a prevailing attitude of complacency and case backlog.
"Basically, I knew that in order to build a good team here, you have to participate and show everybody that you're willing to work as hard as them," she said. "Now, everybody rolls up their sleeves and helps everybody out."
"There was so much complacency by the supervisors that had to be fixed in order to move forward," she added.
Jimenez said she has begun the process of taking the office in a paperless direction in order to cut costs, as well as implementing a type of mentoring program for young prosecutors to learn from more veteran members of the office during trials. In the future, should voters allow her to continue to serve as district attorney, Jimenez said she would like to address pay for those prosecutors, as well as further making the office more efficient.
"I'm willing to lead by example," she said. "I think my work ethic speaks for itself."