The justice of the peace seat for precinct 1, place 2 will be passed down next month from one generation to the next.
Hays County Commissioners voted this week to appoint Maggie Hernandez Moreno to the seat held for 12 years by her mother, Margie Hernandez, who died in April 2015. Hernandez Moreno will serve the last two years of her mother’s four-year term and take office Oct. 1.
Hernandez Moreno won the Democratic runoff for the seat in May. She was all set to face Republican Shane Scott in the November election until he dropped out to run for San Marcos City Council. The deadline for write-in candidates passed Aug. 26 with no takers.
Hernandez Moreno will still appear on the ballot, but the early appointment will allow her to take office about three months earlier than if she was elected in November and sworn in in January.
The JP job pays $65,000 and includes certifying circumstances of a death and hearing some misdemeanor court cases.
Hernandez Moreno, 34, a public health and prevention specialist with the Department of State Health Services, appeared at commissioners court Tuesday with her family for the appointment.
“Your mother served this community for a long time and was well-respected and worked very hard,” said Commissioner Will Conley. “I know that you’ll continue and carry that torch and serve the people of San Marcos well.”
Republican commissioners Ray Whisenant and Mark Jones voted against the appointment.
Whisenant said that while he supported Hernandez Moreno, he would have preferred to leave the position vacant until she was officially elected next month. Jones agreed.
“I just don’t feel that this action is that necessary,” Whisenant said.
Hernandez Moreno thanked the commissioners for the appointment.
“I look forward to serving my community,” she said. “I have big shoes to fill, and I’m very ready for that.”