Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s chief of staff, Ivalis Meza Gonzalez, said Wednesday she is mulling a run for Bexar County judge.
“I’m having conversations about what my future looks like,” she told the San Antonio Report. “I’ve been in the mayor’s office for four years and recently had conversations around the county judge seat. It’s a position I think I always have appreciated as someone that was born and raised in this community.”
Meza Gonzalez, 39, has worked in Nirenberg’s office since 2018, previously as his director of policy and public engagement. The daughter of influential Democratic organizer Choco Meza, she was appointed chief of staff in 2020, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic began.
“Ivalis has worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic and has been an incredible asset to our team,” Nirenberg said in a statement. “The community has benefited immensely from her efforts. Her family’s history of service to our region is nothing short of remarkable, and Ivalis is always considering how she could best serve her neighbors. I’ll support whatever she decides.”
She said she would be taking a few days to make a final decision on whether to enter the race to succeed Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, especially because of her role at the mayor’s office.
“The work that we’re doing, that I get to do with the mayor — I want to make sure that that transition is what it needs to be and that family is where they need to be as far as support,” she said. “So that’s what I’m giving myself as I keep thinking about it.”
If she runs, Meza Gonzalez would join state Rep. Ina Minjarez and former Bexar County District Judge Peter Sakai on the Democratic primary ballot in March. Former San Antonio mayor Ed Garza has said he’s also considering joining the field as a Democrat.
Meza Gonzalez is a member of one of San Antonio’s most politically active families. Her mother managed local, state, and national campaigns. Brother Danny Meza served as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) and is now a senior adviser to Jose W. Fernandez, the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the U.S. Department of State.
Meza Gonzalez credits her mother’s life work for putting her on her current career path.
“I feel her presence. I feel her protection around me, and I feel a responsibility to continue the work that my parents and my mom specifically did,” she said. “It’s a good responsibility. It feels good every day to do that.”
Meza Gonzalez earned a law degree from St. Mary’s University and worked in intergovernmental and community relations for the San Antonio River Authority. She has also worked on educational programs for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, served on the boards of Healthy Futures of Texas and the Martinez Street Women’s Center, and was a member of the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women.
Meza Gonzalez said she admired Wolff’s work during his time on the Commissioners Court. Wolff has been county judge for 20 years, and said in October he would not run for a sixth term.
“He really put a spotlight on the county and what the county can do successfully,” she said. “And also what the county and city can do successfully when they collaborate. He did that so well. And so continuing that is definitely top of mind when you think about what your service would look like to the residents of Bexar County.”
Beyond carrying on her family legacy, Meza Gonzalez said she wants to consider her young children — a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old — when deciding on her next steps.
“I’m always thinking, ‘What do they want to see their mom do next?’ That’s top of mind for sure in the next few days,” she said.