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 November.
#1 Ricardo Samaniego
El Paso County Judge | El Paso, TX
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, alongside state officials, hosted a Dia de Los Muertos memorial event for mass shooting victims in El Paso and Uvalde. Judge Samaniego shared stories written by victims’ families and touched on the importance of the relationship between life and death in the Hispanic community. The remembrance event concluded with the El Paso state delegation promising to prioritize gun safety in the next legislative session.
#2 Keith Bell
Mayor of La Marque | La Marque, TX
Mayor Keith Bell began a new program in collaboration with Texas-New Mexico Power and CenterPoint Energy to replace 3,000 streetlights with LED bulbs by the end of 2023 to improve public safety. The project is part of the “Safe City Initiative” Mayor Bell launched in 2021 to lower crime rates. Residents’ calls for more lighting in the historic section of La Marque as well as city hall, police station, fire station, and elementary school spurred on the project.
#3 Brandon Chase McGee
Denton Councilmember | Denton, TX
Councilmember Brandon Chase McGee advocated for “fair hiring practices” to reduce unemployment among people with prior convictions and meet the needs of Denton employers. The practices would remove criminal history questions from the initial hiring applications and allow qualified applicants a chance at being reviewed. Councilmember McGee hopes adopting the practices will allow many people with nonviolent drug offenses, especially Black men, to show that they are ready and able to work.
#4 Billy Lerma
Corpus Christi Councilmember | Corpus Christi, TX
Councilmember Billy Lerma vocally opposed the city’s plan to build a water desalination plant in his district. He said the proposed plant site does not have the necessary water exchange to mediate the salty wastewater the desalination plant will discharge. Community activists have highlighted the environmental impact the plant will have on Councilmember Lerma’s Black and Hispanic district.
#5 Richard F. Cortez
Hidalgo County Judge | Edinburg, TX
County Judge Richard F. Cortez announced the “Handle with Care” initiative to support children exposed to traumatic experiences. The initiative will allow law enforcement to alert school districts when children are exposed to police activity so they can be referred for mental health resources if needed. Judge Cortez stressed the importance of cooperation in keeping the community’s children safe and healthy.
#6 Rachel Proctor
Mayor of DeSoto | DeSoto, TX
Mayor Rachel Proctor hosted an online event to educate employers on ways to make their workplaces more inclusive for people with disabilities. The event observed National Disabilities Awareness Month and fulfilled one of Mayor Proctor’s early goals in office. The initiative will continue in future years with plans for hosting job placement workshops and job fairs for the disabled community.
#7 John Wiley Price
Dallas County Commissioner | Dallas, TX
Commissioner John Wiley Price suggested the county sue the State of Texas for failing to provide sufficient mental health resources for inmates who are incompetent to stand trial. Hundreds of inmates are waiting for months to years for care. As a result, the county jail is being strained by having to house those inmates. Commissioner Price believes a lawsuit is most likely tactic to result in a response from the state.
#8 Adrian Garcia
Harris County Commissioner | Houston, TX
Commissioner Adrian Garcia announced the opening of a ACCESS2HEALTH Smart Pod to address mental health needs. Smart Pods are four-room mobile clinics that offer free healthcare and services to community members, regardless of their ability to pay. Commissioner Garcia, who already has two other Smart Pods offering primary healthcare services to residents in his district, was pleased to offer access to mental health services.
#9 Tim David
Mayor of Temple | Temple, TX
Mayor Tim Davis supported reallocating federal COVID-19 relief funds to help address the growing homeless population in Temple. About $450,000 will go towards opening a homeless shelter and related services, including a substance abuse program. Mayor Davis believes the move will help the “most vulnerable” in the city as winter approaches.
#10 Sylvester Turner
Mayor of Houston | Houston, TX
Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the City of Houston, in partnership with Solar United Neighbors, launched a group-buying program to help residents and small businesses buy and install solar systems. Texas Solar Switch Houston promotes promote the adoption of solar panels and battery storage. The program offers Houston residents a hassle-free process and discounted prices for rooftop solar systems.