Cascos files to join county judge race

BROWNSVILLE — Longtime Cameron County politician Carlos Cascos is returning to the ballot here on the border after serving for nearly two years in Austin as Texas’ Secretary of State.

Cascos, a former Cameron County judge and commissioner, filled out the paperwork in late November to run as a Republican against either Democrat incumbent County Judge Eddie Trevino or his primary opponent Robert Sanchez.

“Ever since I got back I was getting a lot of inquiries … just overwhelming support from people that just believe that I did a great job as county judge and wanted me to get back in again,” Cascos said. “I’ve got a few years left in me and thought I’ll give it another shot.”

Cascos, who was a county commissioner from 1991 until 2002, was elected as judge in 2006, 2010 and in 2014. In 2015, Cascos resigned from the position after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appointed him Secretary of State.

When asked whether he’d leave in the event that he’s elected as judge and a state or federal agency or official appoints him to some position that would require him to resign, Cascos didn’t mince words.

“I would stay in Cameron County,” he said. “I’ve heard my critics, ‘Yeah, you left, this and that’ … but most people have been supportive. Who would not take that position?”

And he believes that his nearly two years serving as Secretary of State gives him an added edge if elected.

“During my term as secretary, I’ve developed some really strong relationships with the directors of the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Water Development Board,” Cascos said.

“The county relies on those three agencies quite a bit.”

Secondly, through efforts to help repair a strained relationship between Mexico and the State of Texas, Cascos said he’s made acquaintances and friends in Mexico, including two who are running for president there.

“So I think that if I’m called upon we have to recognize where we live and the economy that we have with Mexico is so important, not just to the country and state, but it’s so important to us here locally,” Cascos said. “I’ll do whatever we need to do to better this area.”

Cascos said he plans to run a positive, issues-oriented campaign against either Trevino or Sanchez.

While the campaign is only in its infancy, Cascos said there are already a few topics he looks forward to revisiting if elected, including the creation of a second causeway connecting South Padre Island to the mainland; what to do with the former West Rail property, a currently contentious debate between hike-and-bike advocates, land developers and the county and Brownsville; and efforts to create a regional metropolitan transportation organization, which has been met with hesitation in Cameron County.

He said he also wants to be an advocate for issues surrounding colonias in Cameron County.

“I don’t think the state is paying enough attention … I’d like to do more,” Cascos said.