After defeating incumbent Barbara Canales by nearly 11 percentage points on election night, Connie Scott has been named Nueces County Judge Elect.
Scott told KRIS 6 News that she has many plans for the future of the county, but reiterated the need to bring the commissioners court back together, and rebuild the trust in the office that she feels was lacking the past four years.
But before taking the gavel in January, the real work of transitioning begins.
"I'll be doing everything I can to get informed, I have some meetings with some other county judges around the area that have already called for a luncheon. Some of the other commissioners have set up meetings for me to try to get me involved in what's going on.," Scott said. "Going in, number one, will be reestablishing the trust and the working relationships with the commissioners and then with the community as well — with the city council, with the port, and I've already reached out to them and they in fact already reached out to me."
While Scott has a laundry list of priorities, tackling job vacancies at the courthouse, addressing the old Nueces County courthouse, and the crumbling infrastructure of the county jail are on the docket. Especially, since it is currently overcrowded.
"We are spending a lot of county money sending inmates to other counties. Years ago, we used to make money housing federal inmates, we can't do that anymore," she said. "We need to start discussing solutions instead of sweeping it under the rug and pretending the problem is going to go away."
Scott added all those priorities will require consensus.
"Remembering that I'm one of five," she said. "It is not my agenda, it's not my plan, we have to work together with the commissioners and move forward as a unit — as an entity that all represent the people here throughout the community."
Scott said she has plans to ask commissioners to support the hiring of a forensic auditor to review the county's financials, as well as look into what American Rescue Plan Act funding has been used, where it has been used, and what programs will need to be funded by the county after the ARPA money runs out.
"We have not requested it yet, but it is definitely something that I believe is necessary, yeah. Just so we have the facts," Scott said.
Another important topic that was brought up was the use of executive sessions during commissioner's court, which are private and not accessible by the public, and have become a frequent occurrence.
"They are set up for a reason, but that really is just for attorney client privilege. Most of the business of the county is the public's business, and it should be done out in the public," she said.