GALVESTON - Before a packed meeting of the Galveston Island Pachyderm Club on March 21, Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia formally announced his decision to leave the Democratic Party and join the Republican Party.

Mallia, who has been on the bench for a decade, cited his conservative beliefs as the basis to switch parties, drawing applause from the attendees.

"It has always been my personal philosophy that hard work and perseverance always pays off," he said.

A graduate of Galveston O'Connell High School, the University of Texas and St. Mary's School of Law, Mallia worked in the Galveston County District Attorney's Office from 1987 until he was elected as judge of the 405th District Court in 2000.

Referring to his work as a judicial officer, he described himself as a judge "who always treated everyone who came into that courtroom with dignity and respect."

"At the same time, I maintained an orderly and organized court," he said.

"I have been described by visitors to my court as patient, conscientious and knowledgeable. I always keep an open mind and make sure each side gets their chance to be heard. I also put my best effort to make sure that justice is served in each and every case that comes before me."

Mallia asserts his 23-year career in public service will continue to aid him as a Republican.

"As you can tell from my brief biography, I've always had very conservative values, and I think I would be a very good fit for the Republican Party," he said.

"This is the same observation that many Republicans who asked me to join have, as well as those who support my change."

The married father of two thanked his past and present supporters and offered the opportunity to skeptics to consider his qualifications, experience and proven record on the bench.

He ultimately announced his plans to run under the GOP banner in the 2012 elections.

Mallia's defection culminates the Galveston County Republican Party's efforts to court him prior to last November's elections.

The Republicans recorded a sweep in virtually every contest in Galveston County for the first time since Reconstruction.

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