El Paso County Attorney Jo Ann Bernal announced Tuesday that she will not seek re-election when her term expires at the end of 2024.
“I have been honored to serve this community,” Bernal said in a statement. “I intend to finish my term and I still have a lot of work to do, but I want to make this announcement today to give the community enough time to consider candidates who will apply for this important position.”
Newsmaker 2022:El Paso District Attorney Yvonne Rosales suffered a quick fall
Bernal’s current term ends on 31 December 2024. She has been district attorney since 2009, when the El Paso County Court of Commissioners appointed her to replace Jose Rodriguez, who resigned to become a state senator. She became the first woman to be elected El Paso County District Attorney in 2011.
Bernal has been a lawyer for over 35 years. She has been with the district attorney’s office since 1993 and rose through the ranks to the position of first assistant district attorney before replacing Rodriguez, her former boss.
More:El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks: “Renovating this office is my top priority”
The District Attorney is the lead lawyer representing the county government and leads a team of lawyers involved in civil and criminal law, including civil rights litigation and juvenile prosecution.
In her statement, she said that during her tenure as District Attorney, Bernal provided the county with legal advice on the COVID-19 pandemic, the migration crisis, and the county’s continued growth outside of the city of El Paso.
More:Massage Parlor in West El Paso Temporarily Closed Due to Sexual Favors Allegations
Bernal created the Troubleshooting Unit, which used court orders to crack down on repeat criminal activity at strip clubs, massage parlors, and bars that had become a nuisance to neighbors.
Other accomplishments cited by Bernal included expanding protection order services for victims of stalking and bullying, as well as providing legal advice to the county in support of the legalization of same-sex marriage.