July: 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 JR Trevino Jr.

Mayor of Castle Hills | Castle Hills, TX

Mayor JR Trevino Jr. wrote to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) proposing the creation of a board to enhance communication between ERCOT and city officials. Mayor Trevino’s letter was prompted by the lack of communication between ERCOT and local officials during Texas’ winter storm that shut down utilities and left residents without heat or water. Mayor Trevino drafted the framework and board charter of what is now called the Texas Municipal Officers ERCOT Advisory Board and is one of the founding 14 board members. The board’s first meeting in July focused on potential severe weather due to summer heat.

#2 Trey Mendez

Mayor of Brownsville | Brownsville, TX

Mayor Trey Mendez pushed to allocate $19.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds to bring broadband services to all Brownsville residents, a priority he identified when running for mayor. Brownsville is ranked as one of the least connected communities in the U.S. Mayor Mendez’s actions will help create an affordable and faster network while making the city more attractive to businesses and individuals looking to move to the community.

#3 Tarsha Jackson

Councilmember of Houston | Houston, TX

Councilmember Tarsha Jackson created the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) to clean up and prevent illegal dumping in Houston’s Fifth Ward. HOT is charged with cleaning the streets of her district when other city departments do not. Councilmember Jackson set up a direct line for residents to contact her office to report dumping. Councilmember Jackson also persuaded the Houston City Council to increase the fine for illegal dumping and add special collection days in the Fifth Ward to make trash collection more accessible.

#4 Mattie Parker

Mayor of Fort Worth| Fort Worth, TX

Mayor Mattie Parker endorsed a public effort to rename the recently completed “White Settlement Road” to better reflect the city’s diversity. While Mayor Parker has yet to state her support for any particular name, she acknowledges the importance of the topic in the community. White Settlement Road borrows its name from the nearby town of White Settlement, a frontier town composed of all white settlers who expanded into American Indian territory in the mid-19th century.

#5 Luis Sanchez

Midland County Commissioner| Midland, TX

Commissioner Luis Sanchez called for a special session of the commissioners court to subsidize septic tank flushing. Flooding in Midland County left Commissioner Sanchez’s constituents without working plumbing and high prices to flush their septic tanks. Commissioner Sanchez convinced the court to allocate emergency funds to help his constituents pay for plumbing services. He cautioned that flood insurance is a better long-term solution than relying on the county’s help.

#6 John Coffee

Potter County Commissioner | Amarillo, TX

Commissioner John Coffee, acting on a recommendation from District Attorney Randall Sims, supported a resolution to establish two new courts: a Veteran’s Treatment court and a Mental Health Treatment Court. The courts were created to prevent recidivism and offer alternate paths to recovery outside of the county jail. The new specialty courts will target those groups specifically to avoid placing them in the standard county courts where the indigent defense system is inadequate for their needs.

#7 Toni Garrard Clay

Mayor of Athens | Athens, TX

Recently elected Mayor Toni Garrard Clay proposed building a memorial wall at O.D. Baggett Park honoring Black students who attended segregated schools in Athens. The wall will recognize students who attended Blackshear, Fisher, and Bishop Heights schools. The Athens City Council unanimously approved the plan

#8 Richard Cortez

Hidalgo County Judge | Edinburg, TX

County Judge Richard Cortez hosted a cooking school to help prepare residents for emergencies. Judge Cortez said events ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the winter storm have left residents unprepared. He hoped the demonstration would help constituents plan for unexpected events. The demonstration included a stove-safety tutorial and a home emergency kit.

#9 Bill Gravell

Williamson County Judge | Georgetown, TX

Judge Bill Gravell wrote an open letter to his constituents encouraging them to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Judge Gravell acknowledged that vaccination is a personal choice and explained that every recent COVID-19 death claimed the lives of unvaccinated people. Judge Gravell said he chose to become vaccinated in March for his own safety and to carry on his duties as county judge.

#10 Dan Pope

Mayor of Lubbock | Lubbock, TX

Mayor Dan Pope wrote to Governor Greg Abbott imploring the governor to intervene in The University of Texas and Oklahoma University’s decisions to withdraw from the Big 12 and move to the SEC. Mayor Pope said the move will negatively impact Lubbock’s economy and employment opportunities. Mayor Pope said each Big 12 game adds up to $10 million to the Lubbock economy. If UT and OU leave the Big 12 Lubbock will no longer host major games and miss out on that economic boost.

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