Much has been made by my opponent on the issue of how being a lawyer is necessary to serve in the position of Justice of Peace for Cameron County, Precinct 2-Place 2. I would like to take time to make a thorough response on this idea. I wish to begin with a history of this role - a role that traces its roots back to 12th century England when Richard I bestowed upon Knights the role to be “Keepers of the King’s Peace.” Over time, the title as we know it was created in the 14th century and, naturally, some of the concepts of the old English law were transferred over to the United States.
The first Justices of the Peace were volunteers, and many were local citizens, businesspersons, ranchers, and farmers. In fact, there were some lawyers, though it was not a prerequisite for the office in the American colonies. As time marched forward, the post changed in many states (some states, like New York, no longer have the position). To this day, not all states require that this role be a lawyer.
In fact, in Texas, many Justices of the Peace are not lawyers. They are hard-working citizens, like you, who run for the office to help administer certain matters of civil and criminal law in their regions. Oddly enough, of the Justices of the Peace in Cameron County, currently none are lawyers. This happens to be the case in many counties across our great state where many Justices are not lawyers. In fact, in Texas, being a lawyer is not a prerequisite for office as the State of Texas offers judicial procedural training for those in the position.
The reason for this is because the idea is that the Justice of the Peace is a position that comes from the people, of the people, by the people. Elected to serve, whether a businessperson or a cook, whether a school teacher or a doctor, whether a bus driver or a carpenter - the point of the Justice of the Peace office is to serve the people and be elected from the people. There is no rule, no law, no codicil that says the Justice of the Peace must be a lawyer. In fact, history shows that those elected from the body of citizens often serve, regardless of their occupation prior.
Don’t let deception or smoke and mirrors guide you. Choose based on overall life experience - from business to community service, from family to community, choose your Justice of the Peace from someone who loves family as you love family. Someone who has fought as you have fought - for all that is right and good in this world. Choose me, Yolanda Begum, as your Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2 Place 2 in Cameron County on July 31st.