July 2022: Top 10 Texas Local Officials

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 July.

#1 Rodney Ellis

Harris County Commissioner | Houston, TX

Commissioner Rodney Ellis hosted a gun buyback program that resulted in 845 firearms being removed from the streets as part of the One Safe Houston Initiative. Commissioner Ellis mobilized Harris County resources to launch new programs, such as the Gun Buyback Program. The event aimed to reduce the number of guns on the streets and, ultimately, crime. The One Houston Safety Initiative is a $53 million investment prioritizing crime reduction through research-based strategies to bolster public safety.

Read more about commissioner Ellis’ accomplishments here.

July Rising Lonestars Commissioners Rodney Ellis

#2 Iliana Holguin

El Paso County Commissioner | El Paso, TX

County Commissioner Iliana Holguin, alongside County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, announced the expansion of the El Paso sewer system to the Lourdes and Conquistador neighborhoods. The expansion will connect over 300 residents who have waited decades to be connected to the county’s wastewater infrastructure. The sewer expansion fulfills a campaign promise of Commissioner Holguin who emphasized the infrastructure needs of her district.    

#3 Blake Margolis

Mayor of Rowlett | Rowlett, TX

Mayor Blake Margolis announced his proposal to cap the number of homes institutional investors can purchase in Rowlett. Mayor Margolis expressed concern about the number of homes owned by investment groups in Texas, which is as high as 45% in Dallas. Mayor Margolis said capping the number of homes investment groups can buy should improve the availability of housing for Rowlett residents.

#4 Adrian Garcia

Harris County Commissioner | Houston, TX

Commissioner Adrian Garcia piloted a program called Employ2Empower which provides people experiencing homelessness with paid maintenance jobs in Harris County. Commissioner Garcia’s efforts have been such a success that the program received unanimous approval from commissioners court to spend $2.1 million to expand the program. Participants are provided meals and additional resources, such as healthcare services, medication, help with housing applications, and connections to job opportunities.  

#5 Ronald Garza

Uvalde County Commissioner | Uvalde, TX

County Commissioner Ronald Garza secured approval of a resolution calling for Governor Greg Abbott to hold a special session to consider raising the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic assault-style rifles from 18 to 21. Garza said he spoke with several gun advocates and a cross-section of the community who all support efforts to improve safety in the community. The resolution, passed in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting, adds to numerous similar resolutions from Texas’ largest cities. 

#6 Teri Castillo

San Antonio Councilmember | San Antonio, TX

Councilmember Teri Castillo introduced a resolution recommending city funds not be used to collect and store information that could be used to investigate and prosecute women seeking abortions. After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Councilmember Castillo wanted to protect abortion rights. Although the city council cannot dictate which laws the SAPD can enforce, Councilmember Castillo doubts the city manager or police department will invest additional resources in investigating abortion-related incidents in light of the council’s resolution.

Read more about Teri Castillo’s accomplishments here.

#7 Javier Salazar

Bexar County Sheriff | San Antonio, TX

County Sheriff Javier Salazar is lobbying other San Antonio officials to make Election Day a statewide teacher workday. In Bexar County 70% of polling places are in schools. Sheriff Salazar believes operating polls and allowing strangers on campus during the school day could be dangerous for students. He believes making election days a teacher workday would alleviate that danger.

Read more about Javier Salazar’s accomplishments here.

#8 Justin Rodriguez

Bexar County Commissioner | San Antonio, TX

Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez proposed a plan for a $1 million migrant legal aid fund for immigrants facing deportation. As Bexar County continues to explore new ways to support immigrants seeking legal status, Commissioner Rodriguez said unifying and strengthening families is the right thing to do. The resolution was adopted 4-1.

#9 Cynthia Long

Williamson County Commissioner | Williamson, TX

County Commissioner Cynthia Long proposed recognizing June 19th, or ‘Emancipation Day,’ in Williamson County as an official paid county holiday in 2023. Juneteenth, which Commissioner Long described as a “uniquely Texas day,” celebrates the day on which the enslaved people in Texas were finally freed. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863 but slaveholders in Texas did not free their enslaved workers until June 19, 1865 when Army General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston and read the proclamation and ordered their release.

July Rising Lonestars Mayor Specer Smith

#10 Spencer Smith

Mayor of Harker Heights | Harker Heights, TX

Mayor Spencer Smith campaigned for Harker Heights to be declared a Music Friendly Community by the Texas Music Office. The distinction fosters music economic development and job creation in designated communities and contributes to Texas’ long-standing cultural traditions in music. Harker Heights received the distinction after completing the certification process, thus joining more than 30 other Texas Music Friendly Communities.

4 thoughts on “July 2022: Top 10 Texas Local Officials

  1. An award for a resolution is fools award and devalues the achievements of the other honorees. There are plenty of officials creating policy and taking actions to effect real change. A resolution, especially the two mentioned here, is not worth a damn thing. Come on do your research, dig deeper.

    1. Hey Donovon, thank you for sharing your opinion with us! While I promise you we do our research, I do invite you to reach out to us should you have any nominations or suggestions for our future lists. You can email us through the contact page on our website!

      -Simon Nichols, Executive Editor Rising Lonestars

    1. Rising Lonestars will be interviewing Council member Teri Castillo later this month. Keep an eye out for the interview on our social media!

      -Simon Nichols, Executive Editor Rising Lonestars

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