Every so often, County Progress asks our distinguished Judges and Commissioners to allow us a glimpse into their public lives, giving us a fresh appreciation for the myriad of roles and responsibilities they shoulder every day. In honor of Veterans Day, we sought out Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid Jr., who served 21 years in the U.S. Navy.
Judge Madrid, thank you for taking the time to visit with us, and thank you for your service.
HISTORY: I am a 1990 graduate of H.M. King High School in Kingsville, Texas. I attended Texas A&I University from 1990-1992, where I began my Navy career completing boot camp in San Diego. From there, I immediately attended the Naval School of Health Sciences in San Diego and graduated from Hospital Corpsman School. After serving two years at Naval Hospital Memphis, Tennessee, I was accepted to the Navy’s Advanced Medical Laboratory “C” School; I went on to serve as a microbiology technician at the Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida. While there, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from Southern Illinois University.
In 1998, I was meritoriously selected to the Military Enlisted Commissioning Program, where I went on to complete my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. Upon graduation, I was awarded the Mayor’s Award from Corpus Christi for my charitable work done with the underserved populations in and around Nueces County.
In 2001, I served as a charge nurse at the emergency room at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, where I completed multiple pre-deployment work-ups with Fleet Hospital Jacksonville in Camp Pendleton, California, in response to 9/11.
In 2004, I transferred to the Naval Hospital, Naples, Italy, where I served as the clinical nursing manager in the emergency room. During this tour, I was able to complete graduate level schooling and earn a Master of Science in Health Care Management.
While overseas, I was voted into office as the president of the Latinos Unido’s Organization (three-years running), where I helped raise more than $50,000 for various charitable events. As president, I spearheaded the direct support of several local children’s orphanages through multiple fundraising initiatives. I was also voted as the Booster Club president to the Department of Defense high school, where I helped raise more than $30,000 that went directly to the local military dependent school in Naples.
Finally, I was voted into office as the base mentorship liaison, where I was responsible for finding military mentors and tutors for children with deployed parents. I was honored to be awarded the Navy’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
In 2007, I was meritoriously selected to attend the Navy’s Duty Under Instruction program, and I attended the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. While there, I was trained as an advanced practice nurse at the University Trauma Center, and I earned a Master of Science Degree in ER/Trauma Nursing. Upon completion, I was transferred to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland (The President’s Hospital), where I served as the clinical nursing director for the emergency room.
In 2010, I was hand-selected to deploy to Kandahar, Afghanistan, where I served as part of an elite shock/trauma team for the Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit. I was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for directly influencing a 98 percent survival rate to severely wounded American, Coalition, Afghan Police, and local national patients.
In 2011, I helped construct a comprehensive pre-deployment trauma training program at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. As a lieutenant commander, I finished out my military career as the clinical nursing director for the Joint Forces-Medical Education and Training Center at Fort Sam Houston Army Base in San Antonio.
In 2014, I was elected as Kleberg County Judge. After taking office in January 2015, I helped acquire multiple state and federally funded grants, and I am currently spearheading projects in and around Kleberg County that are expected to improve the quality of life for all citizens in the community.
As County Judge, I have the following titles: chief financial officer, emergency manager, chairman of the board for juvenile probation, executive director for human services and public transportation, advisor member to the economic development board, vice president of the Coastal Plains Regional MHMR, advisor member to the chamber of commerce, committee member of Work Force Solutions of the Coastal Bend, and member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, Disabled Veterans Association, and the Elks Lodge.
I was selected by Gov. Abbott to sit on the board of directors overseeing 911 Communications and Poison Control for the State of Texas. Gov. Abbott also appointed me to the Texas Military Support Committee.
I am a strong advocate for helping the senior citizen and underserved population, and I am a director contributor to numerous local charitable organizations in and around Kingsville.
IS THE OFFICE OF COUNTY JUDGE WHAT YOU EXPECTED? This office has exceeded all of my expectations. The United States Navy provided me outstanding training in areas such as leadership, teamwork, healthcare, finance, and education, which prepared me for the executive leadership role of County Judge.
TYPICAL DAY: My days are never typical, to say the least. There are no set hours. I utilize my personal cell phone so that I am available 24/7 in case of an emergency. The County Judge’s seat is multi-faceted including but not limited to the following: budget workshops, planning workshops, project implementation and management, board meetings, emergency management, meetings with private citizens, Commissioners Court, attending community events, attending conferences, continuing education, extensive travel advocating for Kleberg County, juvenile court, probate court, occupational licensure courts, guardianship courts, providing guidance and success plans for at-risk children in our juvenile probation system, partnership meetings with neighboring city and county leadership, providing direct supervision and oversight to the Kleberg County Human Services Department, Meals on Wheels, public transportation, veterans affairs, and the continual planning of future growth opportunities for our community.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: The biggest challenge by far during my tenure as County Judge has been ensuring the safety of our citizens during this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. I implemented safety initiatives very early when the pandemic was first being detected in Texas. With that, we spearheaded an initiative to bring one of the first regional COVID-19 testing sites to Kleberg County to help our neighboring communities, as well. As with most of the nation, these safety measures have come at a price. Our citizens, business owners, schools, and economy were the hardest hit. We have all lost friends and loved ones due to this horrible pandemic. I have never been more proud of my community. We came together as One Nation Under God! We will continue to move forward.
FAVORITE PART OF BEING A COUNTY JUDGE: My favorite part of being a County Judge by far is having the distinct privilege of making a positive difference in the lives of others. I strive to seek out opportunities that will help my fellow citizen in everything I do, whether I’m serving in the U.S. Navy, treating a critically injured patient in the emergency room, or serving as a County Judge. It’s what I love. I have been blessed to have been chosen to represent the most outstanding community Texas has to offer!