On January 3, 2017, the youngest judge in Texas will be taking the bench in the 449th State District Court. Renee Rodriguez-Betancourt will be handling juvenile court cases in Hidalgo County.
As 35-year-old Renee Rodriguez-Betancourt gets ready to take her seat in court, she wants residents to remember one thing. Running her court and running it efficiently. The first and foremost goal right now.
After being elected in the spring, Rodriguez-Betancourt traveled to other counties across the state to bring home ideas that would help her transform the juvenile court system.
Judge Rodriguez-Betancourt said, “I see the programs that they’ve implemented. I’ve seen the specialty courts that they’ve implemented. I’ve sat there for days and sat and watched these judges that are colleagues of mine. Because I’m not one to say I know it all. I don’t reinvent the wheel. I see the work somewhere that has the same demographics as we do, why not apply it here?”
Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez said, “She has that motherly love obviously, for her children, and I know she’s going to have that for the children of Hidalgo County. And we don’t know anything other than just work hard and be humble and do the best that we can. I know she’s going to do well. I know that she has the best interest of the children of Hidalgo County in mind.”
During her time as a juvenile judge, Rodriguez-Betancourt has plans to establish a female treatment center.
Judge Rodriguez-Betancourt, “You know, juvenile females may need treatment for drugs or some type of specialty concerns that they have. And we can send them here instead of placing them outside of Hidalgo County. I mean, a lot of children here, their parents can’t travel for financial or other issues.”
Rodriguez-Betancourt says she hopes to serve as a role model for little girls who come from underserved families like she did.