Over two decades of experience in the courtroom as a criminal defense attorney have taught Selena Alvarenga what’s working in the Travis County justice system and what isn’t. Selena knows people shouldn’t be sitting in jail waiting months for a trial. She will work to reduce pretrial detention and the injustice of cash bail, and she will ensure that the 460th District Court provides as many alternatives to incarceration as possible.
Selena’s life story is not that of your typical political candidate. If elected, she will make history by becoming Travis County’s first openly-gay Latina, immigrant judge.
Selena grew up in San Salvador, El Salvador in the 1970s. She was an only child whose mother died when she was eight. Her father was a computer programmer at a bank. When Selena was just 13, she and her father left the country, escaping the horrific brutality of the Salvadoran Civil War. When they arrived in the US, Selena did not speak English. Her father, who had been a computer programmer at a bank in El Salvador, could only get work serving fast food. When he finally did find a job in his field, it was in Alaska. Selena was one of three Latin American immigrants in her class.
Like many of us, but unlike most judges, Selena started her college education at a community college, before receiving her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Selena always knew she was called to a career that would allow her to help others. A law degree was a good way to be helpful. While she was in law school, Selena became a US citizen.
A passionate and dedicated advocate, Selena has been a criminal defense attorney since she became a member of the Texas Bar in 1996.
Selena’s vast experience is shown through her work as the former Presiding Director of the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and a current Board Member of the Austin Bar LGBTQ Association. With thoughtful persistence, Selena serves as a leader in so many areas of the community. Whether as Mayor Pro-Tem Delia Garza’s appointee to the Austin Public Safety Commission, a mentor for children, a weekend builder for Habitat for Humanity, or as an alto in the Spanish mass choir; Selena’s life is equal parts compassion and principled service. Travis County’s newest court will benefit from her many years as an indigent defense attorney and the unique experiences that have brought her to where she is today.