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Keno Vasquez sworn in as 398th state District Court judge

January 2, 2017

EDINBURG — With his mother’s hand on top of his, Librado “Keno” Vasquez held his hand on a bible as he read aloud an oath as the new judge of the 398th state District Court.

It was a family affair Monday morning during a swearing-in ceremony inside the Hidalgo County Courthouse auditorium as Vasquez and other judges took their oaths.

On the stage with the newly sworn in judge was his wife, three children and other family members.

Vasquez, who was admittedly a little nervous during the ceremony, acknowledged three central figures in his life, first, his late father, his mother Keta Canche Vasquez, who was by his side, and his older sister Doria.

“My dad — he would’ve been so proud of me,” Vasquez said as he faced the audience. “My sister Doria, who couldn’t be here, she helped raise me since I was in fourth grade.”

Vasquez in an interview after the ceremony said his older sister Doria Vasquez, who could not attend the ceremony because of medical issues, was like a second mother to him after an accident left his mother unable to care for him at a young age.

“It was hard without (Doria) there,” Vasquez said. “She helped mold me, raise me. She tried everything to be there, but she was there in spirit.”

Vasquez ran uncontested in the race for the seat on the 398th after longtime judge Aida Salinas Flores opted not to run for a fifth term in late 2015.

Vasquez, a 1992 graduate of Texas A&M University and 1996 graduate of the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, has been practicing law for 20 years, specializing in civil and criminal cases.

The newly sworn in judge said he hopes he can transform the 398th, by finding ways of making rehabilitation a major component of the judicial process in his court.

“We plan to work together. There are people that need help out there. I’m going to bring a different movement to this courthouse where I can help people out; rehabilitate if we can. That’s what I want to do,” Vasquez said.

The 46-year-old judge also thanked his supporters from throughout the Valley, with mentions for supporters from Sullivan City, Alton, Donna and Mercedes.

“Everybody here came together as one family. It’s not about me; it’s about us, and about doing the right thing. And that’s going to be extremely important to me,” he said.

He also thanked the outgoing judge, Aida Salinas Flores, who he is replacing after she spent nearly 16 years on the bench. Vasquez officially takes the bench Tuesday.

Before Vasquez’s ceremony, state District Court Judges Roberto “Bobby” Flores and Luis Singleterry, also took the oath along with County Court at law No. 7 Judge Sergio Valdez.

lzazueta@themonitor.com