Who’s running for this seat?
John Chatman (incumbent), 68, did not return the El Paso Matters questionnaire.
Lucilla “Lucy” Najera, 57, is a community volunteer.
El Paso Matters sent questionnaires to every candidate in a contested primary race to help you decide who you want to represent you. Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 100 words. Responses have been lightly edited for grammar and to fit the word count.
Why are you running for this office?
Lucy Najera: I know that our community deserves better. We need a Justice of the Peace who will work with the community, schools and law enforcement but for the benefit of the entire community. We have so many people who are struggling financially. I know they cannot pay hefty fines without taking food off the table. So, I will work with local businesses and nonprofits to help them do community service.
What legal education, training or experience, if any, do you have?
Lucy Najera: I held a license as a Texas Supreme Court Process Server for eight years and have kept my license as a private investigator active for 13 years. I have an associate’s degree in criminal justice. I have spent years working with local veterans and other groups to make our El Paso a better place to live in.
Why are you the best candidate in this race?
Lucy Najera: I have a proven record of working with veterans, the disabled and others in uniting them for the betterment of our community. I know teamwork makes things happen, it brings unity and awareness. I know I have to follow and enforce the law, but I will do it in a manner that helps the person become a better person.
What actions will you take if elected to reduce the number of evictions in your precinct?
Lucy Najera: Texas law is very strict when it comes to handling evictions. But there are programs that can help these individuals before the eviction. I will ask landlords to work with nonprofits to help obtain financial support. Also, we must remember that most local landlords are individuals who bear a great cost of going through the eviction process. Legal fees, lease time lost, and other related costs hurt them greatly. So, if the eviction can be avoided it will benefit the tenant and the landlord.
How will you improve court operations and dispose of your caseload efficiently?
Lucy Najera: Show up to work. I will work with the County HR Department to hire staff who can do the job. I also know there are many backlogged cases that will require my immediate attention and I will extend hours to help clear up the caseload. I will work with local attorneys and others to encourage mediation.
Would you place self-imposed term limits on your tenure if elected?
Lucy Najera: I believe there should be a term limit. But I also believe that the people can do that through the election process. Many elected officials who are “termed out” seem to just want to ease their workload until their final term is completed. I plan to work until the very last minute of my time whether I am termed or voted out.
Read more about this race
Lucilla “Lucy” Najera and incumbent John Chatman are facing off yet again over the Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 seat in the Lower Valley.