|WESLACO, September 18 - Weslaco Mayor Miguel Wise announced Tuesday that he is resigning in order to run for judge of the 92nd state District Court in Hidalgo County.
The 92nd state District Court is open following the resignation of Judge Ricardo Rodriguez, who is now running for Hidalgo County District Attorney. Two other candidates have also announced they are running for the 92nd state District Court, McAllen attorney Rey Ortiz and Pharr Municipal Judge Luis Manuel Singleterry.
“I believe that a courtroom belongs to the people and not a small group of individuals; a courtroom where basic core values of equality, respect, integrity, impartiality, and fairness is the rule, not the exception. In short, a courtroom that insures a level playing field to parties and their attorneys,” Wise said, in a news release announcing his candidacy.
Wise said successful members of the legal community owe a debt to society for their success, and one rewarding way to repay that debt is public service. “As a father, businessman, veteran, and 29-year attorney, I understand the issues faced by parties who require legal services, whether in or out of the courtroom, with or without attorneys. We need to know that the courtroom is a place where wrongs will be addressed with a judge who can relate to their needs.”
Before serving as mayor of Weslaco, Wise was state representative for District 39, which covers the Mid Valley. He served four terms as state representative and during that time won the prestigious “Ohtli Award.” This award is the highest recognition bestowed by Mexico on a person of Mexican heritage living outside of Mexico.
“I want to build on that public service to help provide a forum for those whose legal demands require it,” Wise said. “I have been fortunate to have been able to build successful businesses and a successful law practice that not only helped me represent our area in Austin and Weslaco, but which also gave me a unique insight into assuming a judicial role and assist those who seek legal solutions that can only be addressed at their courthouse,” Wise said.
The 92nd state District Court is a court of general jurisdiction that handles criminal, civil, family, and tax cases. Wise said being judge of the court provides “extraordinary powers and responsibilities that must be handled with judicial temperance.” He said he has had the opportunity to practice in all areas that the court has jurisdiction over. “I believe that my experience as a former infantry officer, businessman, mediator, city attorney, and a 29-year experienced attorney, makes me the best candidate for the 92nd District Court. People should have an honest choice. I believe I provide that choice.”
Wise is a National Honor Society graduate of Weslaco High School and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of St. Mary's University. He received a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from St. Mary's School of Law and received an Honorable Discharge as a Captain in the U.S. Army. He is paratrooper qualified and served in Big Pine III Military Exercises in Honduras.
In his professional capacity, Wise served as a city attorney for the City of La Feria, adjunct professor for South Texas College, chaired a committee of the State Bar of Texas, and serves on the St. Mary’s University School of Law Alumni Board.
Wise is married to the former Erin Duffy. She will serve as his campaign treasurer. He and his family attend St. Pius X Church in Weslaco. Their three sons have attended and graduated from Weslaco public schools. An Eagle Scout with three sons who have earned the Eagle rank, Wise has served as Scoutmaster to Troop 100, Crew Advisor to Crew 9, Executive Committee, Rio Grande Council, BSA, and Member at Large to the National Boy Scout Council.
The race for the 92nd state District Court may be one of the most competitive in Hidalgo County this election cycle. Pharr Municipal Judge Luis Manuel Singleterry recently announced he is running for the judgeship. Singleterry is life-long resident of Hidalgo County and has practiced law locally for 15 years. He has been Municipal Judge for the City of Pharr for the last ten years. Singleterry said he has presided over and litigated thousands of cases during his career in the state of Texas and throughout the United States in both state and federal courts. He said he has gained an abundance of first-hand experience representing people in all aspects of the law.
“I have a passion for the law and a resolve to ensure that all people are treated fairly and are always protected. And all litigants, regardless of their position in life, must be treated with the same dignity and respect. I am ready to serve and intend to be open, moral and honest as Judge of the 92nd District Court,” Singleterry said.
“In the hands of judges lies the power to take away one’s property, one’s family, and one’s very freedom. And while at times it is necessary that a judge do so, I will respect the power of the court and use my best judgment with caution and restraint to see that all people are treated equally with dignity and respect.”
In a news release announcing his candidacy, Singleterry said his commitment to his community and to hard work can be traced to his upbringing and the example that his parents provide him. “With humble beginnings and raised by parents who held a high value on education and hard work, Singleterry graduated from PSJA high school and then attended the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He obtained a law degree from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1998. After passing the State Bar, he immediately returned back to the Rio Grande Valley to practice law. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas. Singleterry kept his promise to his parents by returning to South Texas and became an involved member of the legal profession and his community,” the release states.
Singleterry is married to Nereida Lopez, an attorney raised in Hidalgo County from migrant parents. Lopez is a graduate of La Joya High School, obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas Pan American, and obtained her law degree from Michigan State University.
Also running for the 92nd state District Court is McAllen attorney Rey Ortiz. Ortiz said his extensive understanding of the law has made him one of the Rio Grande Valley’s most respected attorneys over the past 30 years. He said this is far from his only distinction. He said he is a sought-after mediator, a former law professor, a licensed real estate broker and a businessman.
“Over my last three decades as an advocate, l have dealt with every problem that our citizens face in the law,” Ortiz said. “From the criminal justice system to family welfare to business disputes, l have seen how courts directly impact all of our lives. The citizens of Hidalgo County deserve a judge with a lifetime of experiences from which to draw when deciding such important matters.”
Ortiz is the managing partner of Ortiz & Millin, LP in McAllen. He and his wife, Debbie, have one daughter, Lauren, who is married to Kent Quackenbush. Ortiz is an avid runner, having run ten marathons, including the Boston Marathon. He enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with his grandchildren, Ava and Sean.