While the African-American News&Issues newspaper rarely endorses candidates who run for office, it has decided to endorse Cindy Vara-Leija for the position of Harris County Constable, Precinct 1.
“Cindy’s integrity, honesty and accessibility will serve the African-American community well,” states Chairman Roy Douglas Malonson. “I have personally met with Cindy, listened to her plans to take Precinct 1 into the future, and I believe she is the best candidate for this office.”
Vara-Leija is in a run-off election for Harris County Constable, Precinct 1. A native Houstonian who has been a law enforcement professional since graduating from the Harris County Sheriff’s Academy in 1978, Vara-Leija retired after 35 years of service to the residents of Harris County from the Precinct 1 Constable’s Office in October 2011 with the distinction of being the first Latina to hold the rank of captain in that department. Vara-Leija’s many years with Precinct 1 have allowed her the opportunity to learn the inner workings of the department from the ground up. She started her career as a deputy in the Mental Health Warrants Division and then continued as a grand jury bailiff, a criminal warrants deputy, a juvenile warrants deputy, and a civil process deputy before holding the supervisory position of sergeant in the Mental Health Warrants Division. Her last position before retiring was as the captain in charge of security for Harris County’s Courthouse Complex, Medical Examiner’s Office, and libraries. She also oversaw Precinct 1’s K-9 units, bike patrols, grand jury bailiffs, and communications and training programs.
This multi-faceted experience provides Vara-Leija with a unique insight into what is needed to restore the integrity of the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s office. She believes her fresh yet experienced perspective will allow her to focus on issues that are most important to the Precinct 1 community. “I know there is a lot of work that needs to be done, but I am ready to face those challenges and hit the ground running on day one,” says Vara-Leija. Once in office, Vara-Leija plans to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the office, create an Office of Professional Responsibility, require management and ethics training for all staff, establish a mentorship program for new deputies, implement a non-discriminatory policy that protects both employees and the public, engage community leaders by establishing a Community Advisory Council, assign deputies to serve as community liaisons, and increase deputy involvement in neighborhood youth programs.
“This office belongs to the community, and it has been tarnished by the misguided actions of a few individuals. The community needs someone they can trust and that they can hold accountable. I want the community to know they can always contact me. I want to be available to hear your concerns, and I want transparency from the top down so real change can occur within the department,” says Vara-Leija.
The African-American News&Issues newspaper joins numerous other organizations and individuals in their endorsement of Cindy Vara-Leija for Harris County Constable, Precinct 1, including Congressman Gene Green, State Representative Garnet Coleman, Harris County Constable May Walker, Reverend Chris Wright of Grace Temple Ministries Baptist Church, Reverend Joseph Baker of Guiding Light Inspirational Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Michael Rutledge with Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, Reverend Karl Minor, Minister of Congregational Life, Kathy Bluford Daniels former candidate for City Council District B, Jack Boatner former candidate for Harris County Constable Precinct 1, Communications Workers of America Local 6222, Harris County AFL-CIO, Teamsters Local 988, and the Houston Chronicle.
The run-off election is Tuesday, July 31. Early voting begins Monday, July 23, and lasts until Friday, July 27. Polls will be open from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm. It is estimated less than 2% of registered voters will vote in this run-off election. The African-American News&Issues Newspaper encourages all of its readers to fulfill your civic duty by voting in this election.