Get to Know Your Local Judicial Candidates

fort bend judicial candidates

In this edition we introduce you to seven great judicial candidates. District Judges Ken Cannata and Chad Bridges are incumbents in their courts. We have seen them in action and believe that they the kind of judges we need in Fort Bend County. They ask for your vote to remain in their respective courts.

John Hawkins and Harold Kennedy have been Associate Judges and have conservative track records. They ask for your vote to assume positions as District Court Judge and County Court at Law Judge respectively.

Tricia Krenek, Amy Mitchell and Dean Hrbacek join Kennedy in seeking County Courts at Law positions as judges. All three of them are well known throughout the county and will make fine additions to the courts of Fort Bend County.

We respectfully recommend that you educate yourself, consider the importance of our judicial system and consider voting for these 7 outstanding candidates.

Judge Chad Bridges
240th District Court
Respect Toward All

“A good judge can make sure that all persons in court are accountable to the same rules as every other member of society” said Judge Chad Bridges, “and are given the same Constitutional protections as everyone else.” He further stated that he runs his “court with respect toward all persons and respect for the law-all with the expertise necessary to ensure both.”

Before becoming a judge, Judge Bridges served for 22 years as an assistant District Attorney trying hundreds of cases. He is the only candidate in the race with judicial experience which is important in a busy court like the 240th. The caseload of this court means there is no time for on the job training.

Bridges long list of accomplishments includes lecturing at the Gus George Law Enforcement Academy, Faculty Advisor to the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association and Trainer for the Fort Bend County Women’s Center. He has been published by the Texas Center for the Judiciary and he and his wife were named the Volunteers of the year in 2012 by the Pecan Grove Gators.

He has been married to his wife, Claudia, for 22 years and has two children.

Judge John “Hawk” Hawkins
268th District Court
Experience, Judgment and Temperament

“The decisions made by a District Judge are important to every citizen of Fort Bend County.” Said Judge John “Hawk” Hawkins. “We need our judges to have the experience, judgment and temperament needed to know the law and to follow the law” he said because “If it touches your life, your family, your home or business, your safety or your freedoms, it can be affected by what does or does not happen in District Court.”

A lifelong public servant with proven judicial experience, Hawkins is recognized nationally as a strong advocate for victims of crime. He has prosecuted hundreds of felony jury trials during his over 30 years as an Assistant District Attorney. As a Constitutional Conservative he is firm and fair as he faithfully follows the laws as written.

After being appointed Associate Judge of both the 268th and 434th District Courts Hawkins has presided over hundreds of felony criminal, civil and family law cases. His record is spotless and he has prosecuted every type of felony case including Capital Murder.   

He and his wife, Jonnie, have two children and two Miniature Schnauzers.  They are members of River Pointe Church.

Judge Ken Cannata
458th District Court
Making a Difference

“The definition of success in life is really one of significance – the significant difference our lives can make in the lives of others” said Judge Ken Cannata. After 12 years as a judge, over 10 as a Justice of the Peace, Cannata has concluded that the significance doesn’t show up in your resume but “it’s found in the hearts and lives of those we’ve come across who are in some way better because of the way we’ve lived our lives.”

Cannata says he is fortunate that having been a coach, a mentor and a judge have enabled him to “positively impact the lives of those whose paths have crossed with mine.” He has been especially successful in helping young people find the right path in life.

“Though all judges are bound to apply the law, the best of them do so with an eye to the ultimate purpose, which is to do justice” said Cannata

Cannata is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a member of the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists. He has been a member of the Texas State Bar of Texas for 35 years.

He has been married to his wife Susan for 40 years and has three children and three grandchildren.

Tricia Krenek
County Court at Law No. 3
Fair, Impartial and Compassionate

“My education, training and experience provide me a strong foundation to faithfully adhere to a Constitutionally sound approach of applying the rule of law as it is written” she said. Judges must “avoid judicial activism and administer justice in a fair, impartial and compassionate manner.”

Her impressive list of qualifications includes studying at the University of Innsbruck under the late US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. She also clerked for former District Judge and current Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Brown in addition to earning a BBA and an MBA in accounting at the University of St. Thomas and her law degree at the University of Houston Law Center.

With four years as a City Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem of Fulshear, Krenek believes in community service. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Brazos River, Texana Steering Committee, Family Hope, Fulshear Chamber of Commerce and more.

She is committed to the Girl’s Court program to help young women in personal crisis with discipline, structure, accountability and direction in their lives.     

Krenek and her husband, Ed, have a blended family of four children, one grandchild and a dog.

Amy Mitchell
County Court at Law No. 4
A Servant’s Heart

Service to the community is at the center of Amy Mitchell’s life, “I have a servant’s heart” she said, continuing, “I have worked for decades to make a difference in our community. Expressing her desire to help young people, Mitchell feels, “if we can change some (lives) and put them on the right path, we have really accomplished something extraordinary.”

As a judge she said, she would be “able to shape young lives and help make difficult situations less stressful by bringing compassion and understanding to the court.  That is what has led her to this moment. She has worked in child abuse prevention, she has chaired events that prevent domestic violence, illiteracy and providing Christmas gifts to underprivileged children.

Mitchell has successfully argued at the Court of appeals and tried 70 cases in various courts. She has handled 500 mediations and 20 arbitrations.

She has served on the City Council of Sugar Land for almost 8 years, The Sugar Land Police and Fire Academy, Sugar Land 101 and the Sugar Land Community Assistance Support Team.    

Married to Gordon Berkstresser, they have a blended family of Three children.

Judge Harold Kennedy
County Court at Law No. 5
Support of Our Youth

“I believe everyone should have his or her day in court and that they should be on an even playing field” said Judge Harold Kennedy, continuing, “it’s my job to ensure that playing field remains even by being fair, impartial and following the law.” He said voters could rest assured that “I follow the law, and I don’t let my personal feelings or beliefs enter into a ruling.”

Kennedy has served as Associate Judge for 19 years presiding over tens of thousands of cases. He was instrumental in clearing a huge backlog of cases during his time in the court.

Kennedy is passionate about youth serving in many capacities with civic organizations that are dedicated to helping youth such as The Houston Children’s Festival, T.W. Davis YMCA, Fort Bend County Fair and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Professionally he has carried that same desire to help youth into the courtroom. “Helping juveniles through judicial guidance is important to me” he said. “I have had the chance to show juveniles how to leave their delinquent conduct behind and get back on the right track.”

Judge Kennedy has resided in Pleak for over 30 years. He has one daughter who is a teacher.

Dean Hrbacek
County Court at Law No. 6
An Honor to Serve

Dean Hrbacek is a candidate for County Court at Law Number 6. He said, “Our country was founded in the idea of justice for all.” He wants to use his 30 years of experience as an attorney to guarantee fair and impartial justice while assuring every citizen with respect, fairness and dignity. “It has been an honor to serve this community, in capacities ranging from mayor to little league coach to a volunteer helping neighbors during Hurricane Harvey”

Moving to Sugar Land in 1987, Hrbacek served on the City Council and 6 years as Mayor. During his terms as Mayor he reduced taxes by 33%. He was instrumental in the creation of Sugar Land Town Square and bringing the University of Houston Campus to Sugar Land.

His practice of law specialized in civil, probate, guardianship, tax, Real Estate, condemnation and employment. He is Board Certified in Tax Law and is a Certified Public Accountant. He has volunteered legal services as a legal counsel to community organizations. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Fort Bend County Bar Association.

Hrbacek is married to his wife, Jenny and they have three children.

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control in Richmond.  He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council.  He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at 

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Gary Gillen

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control in Richmond. He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at