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 December.
#1 Sylvester Turner
Mayor of Houston | Houston, TX
Mayor Sylvester Turner has shown his dedication to the preservation of indigenous culture when he announced the opening of Houston’s Victual Southern Plains Museum and Cultural Center. The virtual museum has been celebrated by indigenous leaders as an important step in appreciating and respecting Houston’s indigenous population. He has also taken advantage of CARES Act funding by supporting and announcing the launch of the city’s Computer Access Program. Mayor Turner’s Health Equity Response Taskforce has partnered with Comp-U-Depot to distribute up to 1,900 computers for free to qualifying applicants until the end of the year. Additionally, he will appear as a keynote speaker at the first-ever Greentown Labs Climate Tech Summit which is a testament to his dedication to fighting climate change through creativity and ingenuity.
#2 Ricardo Samaniego
El Paso County Judge| El Paso , TX
Judge Ricardo Samaniego of El Paso sought strict COVID-19 restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving, fearing that the county’s recent virus trends alongside the Thanksgiving holiday could dramatically worsen the area’s situation. Judge Samaniego initially issued a countywide shutdown order of all non-essential businesses and dine-in eating. The order was opposed by small business owners, Mayor Dee Margo, and Governor Greg Abbot and later struck down by the Eighth Court of Appeals. While the court order halted Judge Samaniego’s legal action, it did not deter him from seeking new avenues for limiting the spread of COVID-19. Judge Samaniego’s new restrictions are meant to find a balance on community and economic health while respecting the decision of the Eighth Court of Appeals.
#3 Dee Margo
Mayor of El Paso | El Paso, TX
Mayor Dee Margo and Judge Samaniego publicly disagreed earlier in November regarding the correct response to the coronavirus surge in El Paso. Mayor Margo emphasized the community’s need for economic recovery and warned that a total shutdown will seriously harm El Paso’s small businesses, many of which have not recovered since the last shutdown. After Judge Samaniego’s order was struck down by the Eighth Court of Appeals, Margo and Samaniego have worked together in forming less restrictive guidance which balances economic health with limited restrictions to slow the spread of the virus while protecting small businesses.
#4 Ron Nirenberg
Mayor of San Antonio | San Antonio, TX
Mayor Nirenberg launched the Mayor’s Youth Engagement Council for Climate Initiative which will empower San Antonio’s youth to get involved with the city’s efforts to combat climate change. The council was supported by both the mayor’s office and the Office of Sustainability. Mayor Nirenberg expressed his hope for the organization to use the creativity and energy of San Antonio youths to help find unique and lasting solutions to climate change, stating that “empowering our youth may be the single most important strategy we can take to address the climate crisis.”
#5 KP George
Fort Bend County Judge | Sugar Land, TX
County Judge KP George has continued to demonstrate his dedication towards meeting the needs of his citizens during the pandemic. Judge George recently announced a new childcare initiative collaborating with the YMCA of Greater Houston, the Boys and Girls Club, and other childcare facilities. The initiative is based on the findings of George’s Fort bend County Childcare Task Force which was launched earlier in the summer. The program is funded through the CARES Act and will offer financial support and flexibility to Fort Bend County residents.
#6 Rusty Brockman
Mayor of New Braunfels | New Braunfels, TX
Mayor Brockman spoke out against police brutality and unjust practices following video footage of a New Braunfels officer using threatening language and unnecessary force in a minor traffic violation. The mayor issued a statement condemning the actions of the officer and noted that his actions were “not representative of the men and women in the police department of the City of New Braunfels.” Mayor Brockman reached out to the Martin Luther King Jr. Association and the city’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Awareness forum to address the issue moving forward.
#7 Peter Svarzbein
El Paso City Councilmember | El Paso, TX
City Representative Svarzbein of El Paso pushed last November for legal action regarding the costly amount owed to El Paso by President Trump during his political campaign. Rep. Svarzbein highlighted the struggles faced by El Paso’s citizens in a council meeting. “This amount of money is not inconsequential,” Svarzbein said, “…the message that we send that nobody is above the law is also an important one for our community to understand as well.”
#8 Eric Fagan
Fort Bend County Sheriff | Sugar Land, TX
Sheriff Eric Fagan of Fort Bend County made history last November when he became the first black sheriff of Fort bend County since reconstruction. Fagan ran on a platform of progressive policing, training and equipment. Fagan’s success has been lauded as a success for Texas Democrats as his emphasis on diversity, transparency and progressive policies may represent a growing norm in the state.
#9 Chris Hill
Collin County Judge | Plano, TX
Judge Chris Hill has continually assisted food pantries which have experienced an increased strain during the pandemic. Food assistance has been an ongoing difficulty in Collin County, which has continually revisited the topic in search of solutions to the problem. After county food pantries expended the $9 million of CARES funding provided to them Judge Hill approved an additional $2 million in assistance for the programs, alongside authorizing cities within Collin County to reallocate funds as necessary to maintain their food pantries.
#10 Carl Robinson
El Paso County Commissioner | El Paso, TX
Commissioner Carl Robinson continued to show his support for the city’s police force. In November Commissioner Robinson coordinated with local companies to hang a “Blue Star Over El Paso,” which honors the city’s police. Earlier this year, in response to calls for the relocation of police funds after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police., Commissioner Robinson stated, “We can’t paint a broad brush over everyone because of a few bad police in Minneapolis.”