Maya Guerra Gamble Candidate Questionnaire
1. What actions have you taken to improve your community?
I have always made working towards a better community a core part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are from marching with my father against unfair and inhumane working conditions for farmworkers and against police brutality. As a college student at Yale I created a program in which I taught teen-agers being held in juvenile detention facilities how to sew. We made a lot of Hammer Pants! As a lawyer I have chosen each job with an eye toward where I can do the most good, which is why my jobs have been fighting corporate fraud, prosecuting criminals, representing whistleblowers, and making families stronger by representing parents and children in Child Protective Services cases. And this is why I am running for Judge— because I want to use that position to run a fair and compassionate courtroom to make clear decisions for the good of Travis County.
2. Have you advocated for judicial reform previously? If so, please explain.
I believe our judiciary should be held to the absolute highest standards of ethics and hard work. I have always strived to conduct myself and my legal practice according to those same high standards and will continue to do so if I am given the opportunity to be the Judge of the 459th District Court.
3. Please explain in what ways have you worked for domestic violence prevention?
I represent parents and children in Child Protective Services and in that capacity have worked with many individuals whose lives have been affected by domestic violence. It is critical that our Courts exercise their power in trauma-informed ways so that those who have suffered trauma do not have that suffering compounded.
4. Do you have any concerns regarding gun violence in our state and community?
Yes I do. Tragedies like Las Vegas are horrible on a massive scale, but also tragic are accidental shootings by children who find guns that have not been properly secured.
5. Have you advocated for criminal justice reform in the past? If so, please explain.
I believe that our criminal justice system works best when it is a true adversarial system – with excellent advocates on all sides and when no party is allowed to conceal any evidence from another party. I have seen first-hand the devastating affect that our current bond system can have on working families and I look forward to interest groups, legislators, and courts taking a hard look at that system and where it can be improved without sacrificing safety.
6. What state policies would you like to see in place to address racial justice? What actions have you taken on racial justice?
Racial justice is a ongoing issue for our country. We have only just begun to unpack and examine our history and I believe we will need to continue conversations and education for many years to come. We have made some progress, but we have a long way to go.
7. Are there ways the justice system disadvantages workers? If so, what changes would you advocate for?
In some ways our judicial system always places a burden on the individual: legal cases and trials can be lengthy and expensive and in order to engage in the process a litigant must have the resources (funds and time) to participate. I would advocate for a greater support system for our pro se (unrepresented) litigants. In fact, I have worked hard on the Supreme Court’s Commission for Children’s Parent Resource Group to help create the Parent Resource Guide to help parents sued by Child Protective Services to understand the process, their rights, and better advocate for themselves. This Guide is used statewide and has also led to the creation of a Parent Resource Hotline for parents to call and have questions answered.
8. In your view should there be any change to the role of corporate funding in our elections?
A judicial candidate should not take positions on issues that might potentially come before her if she is elected as Judge. Issues of election funding, our election system, and gerrymandering are all potentially issues that might come before the court in one form or another.
9. What are some policies you would implement to make our election system more democratic?
10. What’s your solution for gerrymandering?
11. How are you funding your campaign?
I am funding my campaign in compliance with the voluntary limits of the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act.
12. Have you advocated for the rights of undocumented immigrants? If so, please explain.
I have, through communications with my representatives on the federal level, and through financial donations.
13. Are there ways the justice system disadvantages or discriminates against women? If so, what changes would you advocate for?
In my experience the Travis County courts do a really good job treating women and men fairly. I think it is important to be mindful of potential discrimination and issues. The Austin Bar Association’s Diversity Scorecard is one good way to keep these issues at the forefront.
14. If there were one thing you could accomplish immediately, what would it be?
I would love for our Travis County courts to be housed in a building that contains the space we need to make the courthouse a community center.
15. What is your campaign strategy for winning in November?
I aim to meet as many Travis County voters as possible. Because judicial candidates cannot issue position statements or agendas getting to know people individually is really the key to success. I believe Travis County residents want a Judge they can trust to be fair and compassionate and also have the experience to handle every kind of case that comes before the Court. The best way I know to show people that I am that person is to meet them and talk to them.