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 August.
#1 Lina Hidalgo
Harris County Judge | Harris County, TX
County Judge Lina Hidalgo introduced a vaccine incentive program for Harris County residents. The program rewarded individuals with a $100 cash card after becoming vaccinated. The initiative, which ended Aug. 31, saw great success with weekly vaccination rates more than doubling after the first day. In addition, Judge Hidalgo announced two new vaccination sites to help accommodate the higher vaccine demand. Judge Hidalgo also announced a $30 million plan to bring more nurses to Harris County to address the recent shortage of available hospital beds due to nursing shortages.
#2 Mattie Parker
Mayor of Fort Worth | Fort Worth, TX
Mayor Mattie Parker launched a podcast, “Go Time in Fort Worth with Mayor Mattie Parker,” to offer residents an outlet to hear about current news and issues relevant to the city. One topic recently discussed was Mayor Parker’s support for local nonprofit efforts to help Afghan refugees while raising awareness of victims of Afghan government corruption. The podcast will allow residents to be more informed about their city and give them a voice in city issues, projects and events.
#3 Steve Adler
Mayor of Austin | Austin, TX
Mayor Steve Adler backed Austin school districts’ decisions to impose mask mandates in defiance Governor Greg Abbott’s orders. Mayor Adler said the districts’ actions are in the best interests of children and the community, especially as the COVID-19 delta variant spread. Mayor Adler said the city, county, and regional health authority would issue guidance to help school districts maintain their mask stance. He expressed confidence in the city’s ability to legally challenge the governor and protect the school districts’ decisions.
#4 Mike Kubosh
Councilmember of Houston | Houston, TX
Councilmember Mike Kubosh challenged Mayor Sylvester Turner’s decision to delay a public referendum on a rule change to allow council members to place items on the council agenda. Councilmember Kubosh helped gather 40,000 signatures on a petition to place the issue on a ballot. Currently only the mayor sets agenda items. He accused the mayor of voter suppression and disenfranchisement of voters by delaying the referendum until the end of the mayor’s term in 2023.
#5 Oscar Leeser
Mayor of El Paso | El Paso, TX
Mayor Oscar Leeser and El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego wrote to Governor Greg Abbott imploring the governor to allow school districts to mandate masks in response to local public health conditions. As schools return to operation and the delta variant surges, Mayor Leeser said acting proactively is important to protecting the community. Governor Abbott responded by reiterating his stance on voluntary masking, especially in schools. Mayor Leeser provided the community with advice to prevent COVID-19 including urging students to wear masks in school.
#6 Tom Sprawls
Councilmember of Odessa | Odessa, TX
Councilmember Tom Sprawls supported allowing residents to vote on an anti-abortion measure. Councilmember Sprawls said he opposed the proposed ordinance but believes citizens should be allowed to vote on the issue. He previously opposed a proposal to name Odessa a “sanctuary for the unborn” as abortions have not legally been performed in Odessa for decades. He described the designation as symbolic and expensive if it costs the city business or is challenged in court.
#7 Richard Molina
Mayor of Edinburg | Edinburg, TX
Mayor Richard Molina announced the sale of $23 million in certificates of obligation to revitalize downtown Edinburg. Mayor Molina said the city’s downtown needs to be revitalized to strengthen the local economy. He said the new city projects will turn the area into a destination location for visitors and be a draw for businesses. The $23 million project includes widening streets, improving lighting, constructing a three-story parking garage in partnership with Hidalgo County and building an arts, culture and events center on a developed greenspace.
#8 Jose Segarra
Mayor of Killeen | Killeen, TX
Mayor Jose Segarra issued a state of emergency declaration as COVID-19 cases in Killeen rose with the spread of the delta variant. The declaration activated the city’s emergency response plan and allows the city to take steps to ensure public safety including establishing testing, vaccination and quarantine stations, and emergency hospitals. The declaration replaces an earlier declaration issued at the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020.
#9 Clay Jenkins
Dallas County Judge | Dallas, TX
County Judge Clay Jenkins filed suit against Governor Greg Abbott for prohibiting mask mandates by local governments. The suit asked the court to allow Judge Jenkins to manage the county’s response to COVID-19. He cited the rise in cases, the resumption of in-person school and a lack of vaccines for children under age 12 as reasons to allow the county control over local pandemic response. The suit was filed after County Commissioner J.J. Koch sued Judge Jenkins for removing the commissioner from Commissioners Court in late July for refusing to wear a mask.
#10 Andrew Nelson
Mayor of Bryan | Bryan, TX
Mayor Andrew Nelson was awarded the 2021 Public Service Leadership Award by the Texas Public Power Association for his response to the devastating winter storm. Mayor Nelson was chosen for his ongoing commitment to his community’s electricity needs. He credited Bryan city employees for their exemplary service to residents during the historic winter storm.