SAN ANTONIO — It's said that experience is the best teacher.
Ina Minjarez, who's represented San Antonio's west side since 2015 as a Democratic member of the Texas House, says that rings true for her.
"Leadership is important here," she told KENS 5. "We've got to have someone that's qualified. We've got to have someone that's experienced. I have gained all of that key experience in the Legislature."
She's now using that experience as a foundation for her platform in this year's race for Bexar County judge. The seat is up for grabs for the first time since 2000 after Nelson Wolff announced last fall he wouldn't seek re-election.
Minjarez is one of four Democrats in the race, along with Peter Sakai, Ivalis Meza Gonzalez and Gerardo Ponce. The El Paso native has served the Alamo City for more than 20 years in various roles, but says she's ready to continue serving in a more local capacity instead of journeying back and forth from Austin.
"As state representative, I've been appointed to serve on key positions," said Minjarez, who worked on appropriations, urban affairs, redistricting, and land and resource management committees, among others. "I worked on policy measures that are important to San Antonio and the state. So I wanted to take all that I learned and come home and lead Bexar County."
Minjarez was a practicing attorney before holding elected office. She says her work focused on prosecuting domestic violence cases and sex crimes, adding she eventually leaned into helping children in the foster care system.
Improving community safety is one focus she plans to retain as Wolff's successor, should she win the seat. Among her other top priorities are property tax reform for an ever-growing Bexar County, improved infrastructure and hastening a post-COVID rebound for the economy.
"There's so many challenges that we are facing as a county," she said. "As the growth is continuing, because we have so many people moving to Bexar County each and every day from other states, we are going to have to be responsible in how we handle that growth."
She points to her time as House District 124's representative as having equipped her with the know-how to turn those priorities into more than just words to campaign on. The capitol, she said, taught her the key skill of learning how to be collaborative with those across the aisle.
"I understand the importance of relationships in order to get things done—that's what's key here," Minjarez said. "You need to have a leader that can work with everyone, understands the importance of key partnerships, to ensure that every stakeholder is brought to the table to be transparent and accountable to the public. That way, we can move the county forward."