Barbara was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. She graduated from W.B. Ray High School (class of 1984, valedictorian), and then was accepted to attend the University of Texas, in Austin. After a full review of Barbara’s academic credentials, the University of Texas offered to Barbara its Presidential Scholarship Award as an incentive to secure her attendance. Barbara completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas in 1989 with a degree in Petroleum Engineering.  She was then accepted into the University of Houston – School of Law – from which she earned her Juris Doctorate degree in 1992.  

Barbara is a distinguished professional who is always engaged with her community. From 1992 through 2004, Barbara was co-owner of an independent oil and gas exploration and production company active in the development of natural gas reserves in South Texas. In 2004, she formed her own exploration and production company, Canales Exploration LLC; and later became a partner in Mother Ocean LLC (a real estate investment company). Presently, she is a practicing attorney, active with several businesses, and serving her third term as a Nueces County Commissioner for the Port of Corpus Christi (having been appointed by County Judge Loyd Neal). The Port of Corpus Christi is the fourth largest port in the United States by tonnage, and the country’s number one crude energy export port while earning the 2018 TCEQ Environmental Excellence Award.  

Barbara serves on many distinguished boards in support of civic and non-profit organizations. She is one of three children of J.A. (Tony) and Yolanda Canales – a well-known South Texas family with a proud history of service to our community and country (Dr. Hector P. Garcia, and Dr. Cleo Garcia). Barbara is the mother of five beautiful adult children – Caroline, David, Natalie, Daniel, and Jacqueline.   

Graduate of W.B. Ray High School class of 1984, valedictorian & class president

Get to know Barbara

On day one, I will initiate a full and complete assessment to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of our managed county services and departments. Your County Judge oversees veteran services, our county jail, our county court system, indigent care, behavioral health care, inland and coastal parks, county libraries, vehicle registrations, and so many other services and departments. Every dollar I can save by more efficient delivery of services is a dollar less in taxes paid. I will modernize processes, launch the most current technologies, and encourage innovative thinking from our county employees so that you can be proud of your county government. It’s time for a fresh set of eyes to re-evaluate how Nueces County services are delivered, so that our tax payers get the most for their money. 

Nueces County needs dynamic leadership so that we might realize our true potential (just like any great company requires a strong CEO to succeed). This can be accomplished by setting concrete goals for our County. I have lived in Corpus Christi almost all my life. I’ve seen our county miss too many opportunities. Other regions have flourished, but our communities’ prosperity seems to come at a snail’s pace. I believe that we can do better. I’ve owned successful businesses. I’ve also served on many civic and other non-profit boards. I am an attorney, an engineer, a mother of five adult children, and a public servant. Most recently, my years of service as Commissioner for the Port of Corpus Christi has allowed me to help bring successful and sustained business development and growth to the Coastal Bend. Today, and always, I am an advocate for our community at the national, state and local levels. I am confident that my business background, diversity in my civic engagement, and my leadership skills can bring about new growth, higher paying jobs, and provide for better county facilities and services for us all. 

Nueces County has so many valuable resources that offer benefits and opportunities to our community. As your next Nueces County Judge, I will be your dedicated chief advocate for the best utilization of these county assets. We have our military installations, our Port, our educational institutions, established and emerging businesses, and our rural and coastal areas. We have rich farm lands, our industrial sectors, and – of course – the beautiful Padre Island that is ripe for an economic boom. With the right business and environmental approach, these assets can become so much more valuable to our county. I pledge to pursue public private partnerships, and to aggressively pursue grant opportunities. I will work tirelessly to assure that our county’s assets are strategically evaluated, thoroughly developed, and properly managed so that our county will attract new businesses, invite greater investment, and thus realize its full potential. I understand that attracting successful, new businesses to our community grows our tax base, and that this is a sustainable long-term model for increased revenues to Nueces County (the current tax-and-spend model only fails over time). Let’s transform Nueces County into the next economic powerhouse in the State of Texas. 

Nueces County Appointee to Port of Corpus Christi, serving 3rd term

South Texas Military Task Force, Board Member

Presidential Selection Committee, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, Appointed by Chancellor John Sharp

United Chamber of Commerce, Board Member

Robstown Area Development Corporation

Ready or Not Foundation, Founder, President 

Education is our Freedom Scholarship Foundation, Board Member

Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Foundation, Board Member

South Texas Institute for the Arts, Trustee

Fannie Bluntzer Nason Renewal Center “Spirit Center,” Board Member

As Your County Judge

"For generations, my family has made South Texas our home. I was born in Nueces County, and I’ve lived here essentially all of my life. My campaign to be elected Nueces County Judge is personal to me. My only interest in being your Judge is to make a difference in our community. I believe we should reach for the stars, and I’m asking for you to believe in me."