Corpus Christi, Texas–Local attorney Cathrine Hilliard was selected to serve an unexpired term with the Port of Corpus Christi on Wednesday. The move fills a vacant left when Barbara Canales was elected to serve as Nueces County Judge in November.
Hilliard brings an impressive resume to the board, including serving as managing partner of Hilliard and Martinez law firm in Corpus Christi. She also serves on various foundations and charities around town which would certainly show a desire to serve. But there is one looming question: Is Hilliard being selected to help run the Port of Corpus Christi it is this just another attempt at sly local politics?
“You certainly can’t argue with her credentials,” says Maritime expert Jillian Foster who at one time served as an executive consultant to ports in Texas, California and Massachusetts. “But again, it just doesn’t seem like the right fit.”
Around town, news of the placement seemed to be more of a wonder in who Hilliard is and why she is qualified to help oversee the ever evolving Port of Corpus Christi.
“Obviously, they took a trial lawyer who made plenty of money and has plenty of local ties and gave that person a type of reward for their service,” Foster said. “But to that end, it doesn’t mean that she isn’t qualified either.”
The San Diego native graduated from the University of Texas in 1996 with an arts degree before earning her JD from St. Mary’s University. After that, Hilliard made a name for herself conducting various litigations and suing on behalf of injury plaintiffs. Though likely not a bad trait in the world of port management, one does have to why?
An inquiry from the Port of Corpus Christi has gone unanswered, as of post. But perhaps they see something there that others don’t.
“Often we only see the surface and it’s likely that Mrs. Hilliard wants to learn about the Port and learn the inner workings of the grease on the skids,” says Foster. “But in a port that is forward looking you have to wonder if it was the right call and why not find somebody with more direct experience?”
That seems to be the looming question around the selection and only time will tell if this was another political favor or a Duval County Connection? Outsiders looking in will just have to wait and see.