BIG BEN: Ochoa honored as JP of the Year

Judge Bennie Ochoa

Judge Bennie Ochoa is pictured (in blue) on Tuesday during a ceremonial dinner recognizing him as Justice of the Peace of the Year. Shown (above, l-r) with Ochoa is Pirate’s Landing owner Scott Friedman, South Padre Island Councilman Sam Listi and Mayor Bob Pinkerton. State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. is also seen (below) with Ochoa and Listi. (Staff photos by Craig Alaniz)

Port Isabel-South Padre PRESS

Judge Bennie Ochoa2Precinct 1 Judge Bennie Ochoa was proclaimed Justice of the Peace of the Year for the State of Texas at a dinner ceremony in South Padre Island Tuesday.

Judge Ochoa was voted by his peers of Justices of the Peace to receive the honor.

At 23 years-old, Judge Ochoa served as Port Isabel City Commissioner then as Chairman of the Cameron County Water District for two years, this before serving as judge for 34 years.

Judge Ochoa said he is proud of his open-door policy that requires no appointment and is happy to help in the Laguna Madre area anyway he can.

Mayor Robert Pinkerton said the city was recognizing Judge Ochoa for his contributions to the community, such as raising $40,000 in scholarships for area students.

“Judge Bennie is known for being the best, fair and the friendliest,” Pinkerton said.

Ochoa said he was happy to discover the City of South Padre Island decided to recognize him. He said he will continue to serve the public with the same flexible but firm attitude.

“They all ask me when I am going to retire,” Ochoa said, “I tell them I am only 61. I will be here for 30 more years.”

Texas State Senator Eddie Lucio said he was glad to be able to celebrate with Judge Ochoa. He said he recalled making the motion to appoint Judge Ochoa when the seat became vacant.

“Judge Bennie is number one because he takes pride in what he does,” Lucio said.

Read this story in the September 27 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.

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