CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month continues with a look at the only Hispanic woman serving on the bench in Nueces County's district courts.
Judge Nanette Hasette is also the county's longest serving district judge, but never imagined she'd be where she is today.
“I had always wanted to be a spy,” said Hasette. “I was real interested in investigating and history.”
Her spy dreams may have never materialized, but Hasette's passion for investigating and history led her to the law and politics.
A graduate of Miller High School, the University of Texas-El Paso, and the South Texas College of Law, Hasette lists among her inspirations, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Hilda Tagle, the first Hispanic woman to serve as an appellate judge in Texas.
Hasette says she relied on Tagle, then the 148th District Court Judge, after Hasette was elected to the bench in 1996.
“She was here when I was first elected and she was very helpful and had always been my mentor when I was practicing before her,” Hasette said of Tagle, who was appointed to the federal bench in 1998
Now in her seventh term as 28th District Court Judge, Hasette says she still enjoys what she does. That however, doesn't mean there haven't been challenges.
“There's always obstacles in anyone's career path,” Hasette said. “You just kind of learn to find a way to make it happen.”
Some of those obstacles came because she's Hispanic, others because she's a woman. No matter the challenge, Hasette overcomes them by living by a simple mantra.
“You work harder, you study harder, you make yourself stronger,” Hasette said.
That strength she says, comes from her upbringing. Her mother was Spanish and her father was from San Diego, TX.
Hasette's first language was Spanish. She says her aunt taught her English in pre-school and being bilingual has helped Hasette from her school days to today.
“This community is Hispanic and it allows me to understand and be able to communicate with them,” Hasette said.
It also gives her a sense of pride, as does being seen as a leader in the Hispanic community.
“Hispanic leaders bring a lot of enrichment to the community in bringing us all together to become one community, working together,” Hasette said.