New Year’s Day at the Nueces County Courthouse was not only busy, but also historic. Among the many politicians who took their oaths of office were Barbara Canales and Dori Contreras, becoming the first women to serve in their respective seats.
People packed the central jury room to witness Canales sworn in as the first ever woman and Latina to serve as Nueces County Judge. While addressing her supporters, Canales acknowledged that she wasn’t the first strong woman to take on a leadership position in the county. However, she also recognizes and embraces the significance of her new role.
“It’s an incredible responsibility and obligation to represent something that’s very important to me and that is just opportunity for all,” Canales told KRIS 6 News.
Another historic oath of office was taken on the tenth floor of the courthouse. Dori Contreras became the first woman to serve as Chief Justice on the 13th Court of Appeals. She’s also only the second Latina statewide to serve in the capacity of chief justice.
“It’s important to me to serve as an example, to serve as a role model to young women in our community to just pursue their goals — their dreams — work hard, and they can accomplish it if they want to,” Contreras said of her election to this seat.
The 13th Court of Appeals serves twenty counties and has offices in Corpus Christi and Edinburg. Contreras was first elected to the court in 2002 and says she’s confident that it will be a smooth transition. She was also excited to take her oath on the same day as Canales, who Contreras said she’s known for a long time and was also part of her swearing-in ceremony.
“I’m honored…to shatter the glass ceiling alongside her,” Contreras affirmed. “It’s just a special time.”