On Monday, June 7, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. District Judge Peter Gomez swore in newly appointed Sutton County Judge Rachel Chavez- Duran. Judge Gomez began the ceremony detailing the history of the courtroom. He then discussed Mrs. Duran’s and her family’s history in Sutton County.

Judge Gomez then proceeded to perform the swearing in process and introduced Sutton County Judge Rachel Chavez- Duran.

There were many of Judge Chavez-Duran’s family members in attendance as well as many community members and Father Felix Archibong of St. Ann Parish in Sonora, all welcoming her to her new position. Former County Judge Steve Smith as well as all commissioners were present for the event.

Judge Chavez Duran is married to her high school sweetheart, Manuel “Tiger” Duran. She two children Peter Ryan Duran and Jaimee Duran Rocha. She was blessed with three more in July of 2014, Drew, Jaime and Raquel Buitron. Peter is married to Maritza Garcia Duran they have 3 children, Mario, Myah Allyss, and Christopher Ryan. Jaimee is married to Steven Rocha and has one son, William Anthony.

Judge Chavez- Duran is a fourth generation “Sonorian” as she explained; she is the proud daughter of Jaime and Andrea Chavez. She has been in Sutton County most of her life. She is a 1986 graduate of Sonora High School, she left shortly after graduation to pursue her education but returned in July of 1998 to raise her children in her home town.

She began her career in local government in January of 2000 when she was hired as a deputy clerk, she promoted to Chief Deputy in 2005 and took office as District and County Clerk in 2011.

When asked her feelings about being the first Mexican-American county judge in Sutton County, Judge Chavez-Duran replied “Being the first Mexican American County Judge is an honor to my heritage. I know many Hispanics years ago never thought of the possibility. My parents went to the segregated Elliott School then transferred into Sonora High where they both graduated. It wasn’t easy for them. But, years later, my father’s sister, Maria P. Chavez along with Pete Gomez Sr. and several others filed a law suit and fought to de-segregate the schools and eventually prevailed. Did the prejudice immediately stop, of course not, but we that have lived here for years now how things changed for the better. Why do I share this story? Some in our United States are determined to divide, no matter the cost. Sonora is not that town of way back then anymore. We’ve moved far away from that thinking. Commissioners, Carl Teaff, Bob Brockman, Lee Bloodworth and Fred Perez, just proved that by appointing me. Fred is the only Hispanic that sits in that court. I’m not the only “first Hispanic” to be appointed, elected or promoted. There have been several before me. It’s important for our kids to know our history even if its “ugly” so they know how far we all have come, especially in the times we are living now. Sonora is not perfect and like all cities and towns has ongoing issues to contend with, but I know we all love it here and work hard to improve it”.

Judge Chavez-Duran’s vacated role as District and County Clerk was filled by Pam Thorp shortly after Judge Chavez-Duran was sworn in on Monday.
Shortly after she was sworn in she presided over a meeting of the commissioner’s court in a special session in which the commissioners appointed Mrs. Thorp to the position of District and County Clerk.

Former County Judge Steve Smith resigned from the position as he was selected to fill the role as Chief Executive Officer at the Lillian M. Hudspeth Memorial Hospital.

The next regular meeting of the Sutton county commissioner’s court will be on Monday, June Monday, June 14, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. in the Sutton County annex building.

Congratulations to our new County Judge!