Victoria County judge leaves Democratic Party
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Labels such as Republican or Democrat may not have much importance on the local level, but to the county's highest ranking elected official, it's a personal matter.
Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi, who has been elected to three terms as a Democrat, announced at the Republican Women's Meeting that he is now a member of the Grand Old Party.
Area party leaders and friends echoed support for Pozzi on Tuesday evening, and federal and state officials passed along messages of encouragement.
"While party affiliation does not have as great an impact at the local level on public policy, it is, nonetheless, the manner in which we elect our local county leaders," Pozzi said in a prepared statement.
Although Pozzi would not elaborate on his reasoning, he said his decision will not change the way he takes care of the county or its residents.
With Pozzi switching parties, the number of elected Republicans is up to 18 of 25 Victoria County offices.
"I still maintain a few core Democrat values," Pozzi said. "But I have continued to disagree with some of the ongoing policies in Washington, and I feel I can no longer align myself with the Democratic Party."
He also mentioned local issues - that the local party today is not the one he supported for so many years - but would not elaborate.
He said "some very personal things occurred" locally that caused him to reassess his affiliation with the local party and pointed to events in the past election.
"It divided the local Democrat Club quite substantially and caused some to withdraw their membership," Pozzi said. "There are personal feelings and issues that I didn't like the way they were handled."
The Republican Women's group read sentiments from Congressman Blake Farenthold and state Rep. Geanie Morrison, who said she and Pozzi have had a friendship for more than 30 years.
"Judge Pozzi has been a staunch advocate for economic development, property rights and fights to ensure local control for those he represents - all of those which are consistent policies of the Republican philosophy," she said in a prepared statement.
Victoria Republican County Chairman Michael Cloud said Pozzi's leadership has earned him many friends among conservative-minded community members.
Susan Neumann, a member of Victoria County Republican Women, said Pozzi always listens to and advocates on behalf of everyone in the community regardless of party affiliation.
Robby Burdge, owner of Klean Corp. International, applauded Pozzi for his dedication as a public servant and leader.
"His integrity and wisdom is beyond measure," Burdge said in a prepared statement. "I am proud to call him a mentor and friend, and I am honored to personally welcome him to the Republican Party."
Victoria County's Democratic Party Chairwoman Kelli Gill said no one from the party has spoken up about interest in running for county judge when the office is up for re-election in 2015.
"I'm sure there are people who are interested, but I have not heard from them yet," she said.