Ortiz sworn in as interim district clerk

Cameron County District Clerk Elvira Ortiz raises her right hand as she is sworn in by Judge Benjamin Euresti Jr. in the 107th state District Courtroom Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, at the Cameron County Courthouse.(Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

Elvira S. Ortiz, a 38-year former employee of the Cameron County District Clerk’s Office and chief deputy for 32 years, was sworn in Tuesday afternoon as interim district clerk, capping a career with the county that began while she was still in high school.

The Cameron County Board of District Judges met a week ago and selected Ortiz to take over for former district clerk Eric Garza, who resigned the position to run for Cameron County sheriff.

“It is a very important and vital position here with the county. Elvira, as you may know, has the experience to be in this position. That’s why we asked her to fill in,” Chief District Judge Benjamin Euresti Jr. of the 107th state District Court said just before administering the oath of office to Ortiz.

She will hold office until the voters have chosen a new district clerk in the November 2020 election.

After being sworn in Ortiz administered the oath of office to the chief deputy district clerk and 43 deputy district clerks.

According to her resumé Ortiz first worked for the county as an assistant county treasurer starting in 1972. She graduated in the top 5% of her class in the Brownsville High School class of 1973. She began work for the district clerk’s office in 1975 and was appointed chief deputy district clerk in 1982.

She is the wife of former County Elections Administrator Roger Ortiz, a lifelong Cameron County resident and a member of numerous civic boards and organizations.

She retired in 2014 but was called back after Garza declared for county sheriff in a bid to unseat longtime Sheriff Omar Lucio.

A number of former county officials turned out to see Ortiz sworn into office, including former county clerk Joe Rivera and retired former 103rd state District Judge Menton Murray Jr.

“You all made a helluva good decision,” Murray said to Euresti near the end of the ceremony. “Somebody finally did something right.”