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ELECTION 2020: 105th District Attorney race

Important election dates to remember
Posted at 10:44 PM, Oct 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 22:57:47-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas —

CandidateVotes
Jon West59,84748.84%
Mark A. Gonzalez62,68051.16%

Vote Centers Reported: 84/84

Here are candidates running for Nueces County District Attorney, also known as the 105th District Attorney, in this year's election. Minor edits have been made for clarity.

MARK GONZALEZ (INCUMBENT)

What is your age?

40

What is your current or past occupation?

I am a husband and father, former defense attorney, and proudly serve as the elected district attorney of Nueces County.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I am a trial attorney, and my prosecutors are trial attorneys. In my almost four years as district attorney, I have overseen an office that prosecuted an unprecedented 37,000 cases (including during most of a year when the Texas Supreme Court halted jury trials). Our office implemented a cite-and-release program for low-level offenders that, even by conservative estimates, has saved Nueces County hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have also eliminated the backlog of unfiled cases, which means victims of crime are in a much better position to receive justice. And I am the only Nueces County DA in recent history to have also practiced criminal defense law. This gives me a unique perspective on the criminal justice system – one that lets me think beyond “Because that’s the way it has always been done.” I am not afraid to try new approaches to prosecution, including ways to focus our office on reducing crime and protecting our community from violent and career criminals, while at the same time giving low-level offenders a chance at rehabilitation.

How have your life experiences prepared you for this position?

I am from Agua Dulce, and came up the hard way. I made some mistakes. And I got back on track because of second chances. We are all accountable for our actions. But we shouldn’t throw away a human being because of a mistake. None of us is perfect. Where it is deserved, giving someone a second chance allows them to be a part of society and maybe even make the world better for the rest of us. That being said, I have learned, in my experience on both sides of the bar, that some defendants will be a threat to the community as long as they are in it. Those people should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

I talk to many people in the community about what is most important to them. At the top of the list is this: The citizens of Nueces County want justice, and deserve justice. We need to be ready to safely try cases when the Texas Supreme Court allows that to happen. But this has been difficult because the COVID-19 crisis has been an incredible challenge -- to the courts, and even our way of life. Our office has not backed down from the challenge. We have worked with our judges, law enforcement, and others about how to make the courthouse safe for jury trial -- for jurors, witnesses, and all the participants in the justice system. Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our community.

What do you see as long-term issues which need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Criminal-justice reform means being smarter about who we prosecute. Jailing everyone doesn’t make the county any safer. If everyone goes to jail, then the jail runs out of room for the truly dangerous criminals who need to be off the streets. This is why saying “lock them all up” is not the solution. We also need to continue operating transparently so that the community can see and better understand our office’s mission of making the county safer and doing what is right.

What is local government doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

Nueces County has responded better than many other counties to the COVID-19 disaster, but we need to stay vigilant and smart. We need to remember that we are all part of a community. Each one of us needs to make smart decisions during these unprecedented times, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and fellow citizens. Wearing masks and social distancing isn’t easy, but Nueces County is the best county in Texas. If anyone can do it, we can.

JON WEST

What is your age?

52 years old

What is your current or past occupation?

Attorney/felony prosecutor

What relevant experience can you bring to the office?

I have over 20 years felony prosecution experience throughout South Texas; and, I have trained law enforcement on complex criminal investigation/prosecution.

How has life prepared you for this position?

I have dedicated my life to fighting for victims and making communities safer.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

The first thing to address is implementing a different prosecution philosophy.

What Long Term issues will need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Victim outreach and violent crime rate. The long term objective is to efficiently handle the caseload in a way that results in decreased violent crime rates.

What is the City of Corpus Christi doing well right now that needs to be expanded further?

Victim outreach and violent crime rate. The long-term objective is to efficiently handle the caseload in a way that results in decreased violent crime rates.