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 Tommy Calvert
Bexar County Commissioner | San Antonio, TX
County Commissioner Tommy Calvert secured $400,000 in the county’s 2022 budget to build a monument in Pletz County Park to honor the Buffalo Soldiers, a historic group of Black Army troops, many of whom were formerly enslaved. The Buffalo Soldiers 9th Calvary Regiment assembled in 1867 north of downtown San Antonio. Commissioner Calvert supported construction of the statue to honor the Buffalo Soldiers’ contributions and to promote racial reconciliation.
#2 Stephen Holmes
Galveston County Commissioner | Galveston, TX
County Commissioner Stephen Holmes led citizens protesting new precinct lines which would diminish minority representation. Commissioner Holmes, the only Democrat and person of color on Commissioners Court, argued that the new lines put his Galveston County precinct at an electoral disadvantage. Commissioner Holmes, vowing to make sure his constituents’ voices were heard, cast the lone vote in opposition to the new map. He hopes his protest against the new map will draw attention from the federal courts which designated the district as majority-minority in 2011.
#3 Kathryn Brown
Bexar County Constable | San Antonio, TX
Constable Kathryn Brown partnered with Eagles Flight San Antonio to create a community pantry to serve domestic violence victims, families in need of children’s clothes, the elderly and the homeless in eastern Bexar County. A breast cancer survivor, Constable Brown said she knows what it is like to need help. Constable Brown hopes to hold a holiday drive to assist people experiencing homelessness by the end of the year.
Kathryn Brown is the first constable to be featured in Rising Lonestars.
#4 Curtis Cornelious
Mayor of Little Elm | Little Elm, TX
Mayor Curtis Cornelious is working with the Little Elm Independent School District to review the district’s sexual harassment reporting and the city’s police department investigation process in response to a student walkout at the high school. Mayor Cornelious commended students who reported sexual assault claims, while condemning violence that happened during the walkout that ended with several student arrests. The initiatives address Little Elm ISD’s accountability and anti-violence rhetoric.
#5 Cindy Liendo
Webb County Commissioner | Laredo, TX
County Commissioner Cindy Liendo promoted a registration drive to ensure that veterans in Webb County receive all the benefits available to them. Commissioner Liendo wants to make sure the county’s Veterans Service Office knows about every former military resident so they can apply for federal, state and local benefits available to veterans and their families. By gathering the information, Commissioner Liendo said the Veterans Service Office can quickly contact veterans to inform them of resources and programs available to them.
#6 Russ Boles
Williamson County Commissioner | Round Rock, TX
Commissioner Russ Boles held a groundbreaking ceremony for the South Bounds Street improvement project in Thrall. The improvements include pavement reconstruction and drainage improvements in front of the small town’s school building which houses students in kindergarten through 12th grade. “When I ran for county commissioner, one of the things I heard loud from the east side of the county was, ‘don’t let the county forget about us’ – and I took that to heart,” said Commissioner Boles.
#7 Gil Hernandez
Corpus Christi Councilmember | Corpus Christi, TX
Councilmember Gil Hernandez is fighting to make construction of a bridge from Highway 286 to South Padre Island the city’s top priority. He said securing federal funds now to build the bridge soon will save the city and taxpayers money rather than building infrastructure after the city has grown. Councilmember Hernandez said the regional parkway is important for Corpus Christi and the entire Texas Coastal Blend. After years of discussing the idea of the parkway, its construction is sooner to becoming a reality with the millions coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.
#8 Teri Castillo
San Antonio Councilmember | San Antonio, TX
Councilmember Teri Castillo responded to a controversial housing report that shows San Antonio is vacating and demolishing housing in communities of color at rates higher than other Texas cities. Councilmember Castillo wants to see the city put more money into wraparound programs to help people maintain their homes so they don’t face expensive code enforcement fines which lead to a downward economic spiral for homeowners. The ultimate goal would be to reduce the number of displaced residents.
#9 Ken Wilkerson
Killeen Councilmember | Kileen, TX
Councilmember Ken Wilkerson advocated for Killeen to join the state’s 2021 Joint Opioid Settlement between Johnson & Johnson and other pharmaceutical companies. Painkiller manufacturers and pharmaceutical distributors agreed to pay $26 billion over 18 years to affected states, counties and cities. Councilmember Wilkerson, a veteran, spoke about the opioid epidemic’s devastating impact on former and current military personnel living in Killeen. The Texas Attorney General’s office estimates Killeen would receive $653,826 which would go to local treatment programs to tackle drug abuse and addiction.
#10 Ginger Nelson
Mayor of Amarillo | Amarillo, TX
Mayor Ginger Nelson launched a weekly ‘Listening Lunch with the Mayor’ on Zoom so busy residents have a direct channel to the mayor to express their interests, opinions and concerns about Amarillo. Inspired by other cities, Mayor Nelson hopes the initiative will encourage greater civic engagement in Amarillo. The meetings are recorded for people who cannot attend and to track feedback.