We have compiled a list of what we believe to be the Top 10 Texas local officials who showed extraordinary leadership in the month of February.
#1 Walt Smith
Hays County Commissioner| San Marcos, TX
Commissioner Walt Smith announced the creation of the new adult Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) in Hays County. The SART program seeks to create a system to establish local and regional processes for prosecuting assailants while prioritizing safety for victims to prevent retraumatization. Commissioner Smith hopes that SART ensures offenders are held accountable and sexual assault survivors are provided with the resources necessary to heal.
#2 Rodney Ellis
Harris County Commissioner| Houston, TX
Commissioner Rodney Ellis collaborated with Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to establish the ‘Clean Streets, Safe Neighborhoods’ program, a crime prevention program that uses research-based data to focus county resources on areas vulnerable to gun violence. The program’s goal is to improve visibility in residential areas and invest in infrastructure improvements that enhance and expand public safety.
Read more about commissioner Ellis’ accomplishments here.
#3 Andy Brown
Travis County Judge | Austin, TX
County Judge Andy Brown personally helped the Austin Independent School District by volunteering as a substitute teacher. Within Austin ISD, hundreds of substitute teacher requests are filed every day because of COVID and teacher shortages. Brown said he will continue to volunteer for the district as long as substitute teachers are needed. Brown said the experience reaffirmed for him the value of educators and the rewarding nature of the field.
Read more about Judge Brown’s accomplishments here.
#4 Richard Cortez
Hidalgo County Judge | Edinburg, TX
Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, along with members of the Texas Workforce Commission, allocated $2 million to pay nursing instructors with a goal of doubling the number of nurses graduating from the South Texas College (STC) Nursing and Allied Health Campus. Although STC produces more nurses than all the other south Texas colleges and universities combined, STC President Ricardo Solis said it is not enough to meet the demands of healthcare partners. Judge Cortez said the partnership will benefit all residents in the region as more skilled nurses are trained for the local health care industry.
Read more about Judge Cortez’s accomplishments here.
#5 Pete Saenz
Mayor of Laredo | Laredo, TX
Mayor Pete Saenz issued a mayoral proclamation declaring February 14 as Student Voting Day in the city. In collaboration with the surrounding school districts, charter schools, and college representatives, as well as the “Yes, I Will Vote” organization, Mayor Saenz is working to ensure all eligible students and youth are registered and have the opportunity to vote. Mayor Saenz emphasized Laredo’s commitment to increasing civic participation among all residents of Laredo and especially young people.
#6 Jalen Mckee-Rodriguez
Councilmember of San Antonio | San Antonio, TX
Councilmember Jalen McKee-Rodriguez introduced an insulin cost-share program that aims to help residents suffering from diabetes. A report from Metro Health data showed that African American and Latino families suffer disproportionately from diabetes which results in higher rates of hospitalization and amputation. The program will help reduce the price of insulin for residents. Councilmember Rodriguez hopes the new program will help address racial disparities in public health.
Read more about Councilmember Mckee-Rodriguez’ accomplishments here.
#7 Sylvester Turner
Mayor of Houston | Houston, TX
Mayor Sylvester Turner showed his support for Ukraine by issuing a statement condemning Russia’s invasion of the country. He emphasized Houston’s values of freedom and democracy as a global city. Mayor Turner said Russia is in clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and called for an immediate end to the war. Mayor Turner urged Houston residents and businesses to light their buildings in yellow and blue, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, to demonstrate solidarity with the beleaguered nation.
Read more about Mayor Turner’s accomplishments here.
#8 John Wiley Price
Dallas County Commissioner | Dallas, TX
Commissioner John Wiley Price and the City of Dallas organized a pop-up clinic that provided HIV/AIDS testing and prevention services for residents as part of a larger effort to raise community awareness and prevention on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Thanks to Commissioner Price’s efforts in organizing the event, residents who stopped by had access to free HIV tests, COVID tests, vaccines, boosters, and rent and utility assistance.
#9 Duane Peters
Brazos County Judge | Bryan, TX
County Judge Duane Peters is negotiating with Texas A&M University Health Science Center to create a new medical examiner’s office in Brazos County. According to Judge Peters, the county has needed a medical examiner’s office for years to investigate sudden, traumatic, and suspicious deaths, but the project had not been possible until American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding became available. Brazos County currently outsources its needs for toxicology reports and autopsies to determine the manner and causes of death to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, a costly, time-consuming, and inconvenient process.
#10 Ana Sandoval
Councilmember of San Antonio | San Antonio, TX
Councilmember Ana Sandoval detailed in a panel interview the steps the city has taken to improve its energy infrastructure after the disastrous 2021 Winter Storm and prepare for future events. She pledged to hold CPS Energy, the primary energy company in San Antonio, accountable for any future failures and acknowledged that the state has not done enough to improve the electric grid for all Texans. Councilmember Sandoval believes that if a future disaster like the winter storm happens again, the city will be better prepared and organized to address the crisis.