State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, is running for re-election instead of district attorney.

Moody, 42, says he feels he can be more effective for El Paso in the Legislature than as DA.

“I think in the last three, four sessions, we’ve been able to achieve some incredibly transformative things for the community — a standalone medical school; continuing to push advanced manufacturing, aerospace engineering at UTEP; transportation infrastructure; all these things that have kind of dovetailed nicely with rebirth and a resurgence in El Paso as a strong community,” he said in an interview with El Paso Matters on Monday. “And we are really on the precipice of some significant investments and changes that you have to see through to the end.”

Moody was a vocal critic of former District Attorney Yvonne Rosales, who resigned in December after two tumultuous years in office. Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Bill Hicks, a Republican, to finish the final two years of Rosales’ term, and he is expected to be a GOP candidate for the office next year..

Moody said he was considering running in the Democratic primary for district attorney in 2024. 

Former Assistant District Attorney Nancy Casas announced in May that she was seeking the Democratic nomination for DA. Former Assistant District Attorney James Montoya, who was defeated by Rosales in the 2020 Democratic runoff for DA, is formally kicking off his Democratic campaign on Tuesday.

Moody said he’s not yet supporting a candidate for district attorney.

“It’s certainly one of the most important elected positions in our community, particularly given the disastrous tenure of our prior district attorney. So it’s something I will watch very closely,” he said. “I haven’t decided whether to what extent to weigh in on that. But it is an incredibly important race, and I hope to see a number of more people enter that race in the coming weeks.”

Moody represents much of West and Northeast El Paso in the Texas House of Representatives. He is the senior member of El Paso’s legislative delegation and has been one of the few Democrats to win leadership positions in the Republican-dominated House.

He was first elected to the Legislature in 2008, and was defeated by Republican Dee Margo in 2010. He beat Margo in a rematch in 2012 and hasn’t faced a serious re-election challenge since.

He said his focus if re-elected will be to complete a number of projects and efforts now underway.

“Standing up a state of the art cancer center; refurbishing our behavioral health system here, which is sorely needed; getting a building for our dental school, and continuing to be on the cutting edge of aerospace engineering, advanced manufacturing, because that’s going to lead to a number of opportunities as companies start to near shore,” Moody said. 

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986.