October: 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 October.

#1 Sylvester Turner

Mayor of Houston | Houston, TX

Mayor Sylvester Turner has continued his involvement in social justice issues, a longtime passion that has grown in importance since the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by white Minneapolis police officers. In October 2020 Mayor Turner’s task force for police reform released a highly anticipated 153-page report detailing recommendations for reforming Houston police. Additionally, Mayor Turner released statistics regarding Houston’s low number of black, indigenous, and people of color artists represented by the city’s collection and vowed to improve their representation. Mayor Turner also fought against Governor Greg Abbott’s restriction of mail-in ballot voting drop-off locations, declaring that public officials should work towards improving voting accessibility. deFinally, Mayor Turner has continued his coronavirus-era leadership by releasing detailed guidelines for religious sermons in Houston.

#2 Betsy Price

Mayor of Fort Worth | Fort Worth, TX

Mayor Betsy Price has continued her support of the Fort Worth Police Department while listening to the concerns of her constituents. Mayor Price recently held a community round table, inviting Fort Worth citizens to have their voices heard regarding police brutality and reform. Mayor Price has emphasized the importance of the police in Fort Worth but has also acknowledged that the institution has room to grow. In addition, Mayor Price was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Dallas-Fort Worth hospital in recognition of her COVID-19 response. Mayor Price received national attention in 2020 when she launched the “Y’all Wear a Mask” campaign encouraging citizens to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

#3 Barbara Canales

Nueces County Judge | Corpus Christi, TX

Since becoming the first female county official in Nueces County, Judge Canales has taken on and successfully implemented dozens of projects to improve the county. Her current projects include improvements to the county’s infrastructure, revitalizing the county’s hospital district (particularly in regard to mental health). Additionally, Canales has truly risen to the occasion during the pandemic. This October Judge Canales oversaw the commissioner court’s decision to build a new county medical examiner’s office, stressing the importance of attention to detail and efficacy for the new office. October also saw the county hosting a campaign event for Democratic President-Elect Joe Biden, at which Judge Canales thanked her constituents for making her the first female Nueces County Judge and urged voters to make Kamala Harris the first female Vice President. 

#4 Steve Adler

Mayor of Austin | Austin, TX

In October, Mayor Adler announced the launch of a non-profit project as part of his fight against racism while seeking an end to institutional racism in Central Texas. Called the Central Texas Collective for Racial Equality, it joins several measures Mayor Adler has supported and spearheaded last year. The push for racial equality came to prominence following the death of George Floyd in May, which was followed by hundreds of protests worldwide. Austin was one of the hotspots for such protests, and Mayor Adler consistently supported the movement, putting forth drastic changes and taking the initiative on improving racial equality in the state capital. Despite opposition and counterprotest, Mayor Adler continues to implement new measures to this end, and this new non-profit organization is but one example.

#5 Freda Powell

Councilmember of Amarillo | Amarillo, TX

Councilmember Freda Powell has led the city’s efforts towards social justice. Councilmember Powell was recently named head of the Task Force for Greatness, a citizen-run council which Powell conceived of earlier this year. The task force will contain seventeen citizens nominated by the council members and aims to create the greatest environment possible for every Amarillo citizen by tackling social justice and inequity problems within the community.

#6 Elba Garcia

County Commissioner, Dallas County | Dallas, TX

Commissioner Garcia led the charge in a get-out-the-vote campaign preceding the November election. The event encouraged Dallas’ Latina population to make it to the polls and have their voices heard. This push is one of many measures Dr. Garcia has taken throughout her time in office to encourage community engagement and political participation among the Latino community in Dallas County. Dr. Garcia has also committed herself to the continuous improvement of the county’s infrastructure and justice system and shows great initiative in the programs she supports.

#7 Lina Hidalgo

Harris County Judge | Houston, TX

Judge Hidalgo of Houston spoke out last October against Governor Abbot’s plans to close voting locations. In a statement addressing the issue, Hidalgo said “the strength of our democracy and our county is only as strong as our ability to support free, fair, and open elections. Geographically, Harris County is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island. Our population rivals that of the entire state of Colorado. To propose only a single, secure drop-off location for a county of our size during a pandemic is ludicrous.” Hidalgo, the first female Harris County Judge, has often taken decisive action for her constituents and continues to exemplify strong leadership in the state.

#8 Maricela Moore

Dallas Civil District Judge | Dallas, TX

Judge Moore, who is seeking re-election to the 162nd Civil District Court of Dallas County, and in doing so has outlined her goal of diversifying the justice system. Judge Moore plans to make changes specifically by diversifying juries, which she has already begun implementing across the county. Judge Moore seeks to revitalize and improve Dallas’ judicial system, not only in terms of the people serving within but also through technological improvements to hearing court cases – an item of growing importance during the pandemic. 

#9 Greg Casar

Council Member of Austin | Austin, TX

Austin City Council member Greg Casar has devoted himself to reforming the Capital’s police force by continually speaking out against racial inequality and police brutality. In October, Councilman Casar took a stand for the right to peaceful protest and sought to ensure public safety during the George Floyd protests that began in May, stating that “Many people in Austin view the events of this spring that resulted in various injuries to peaceful protestors as a failure of keeping people safe. Every Austinite should feel safe and welcomed to practice their First Amendment right to free speech and assembly.”

#10 KP George

Fort Bend County Judge | Houston, TX

Judge KP George has devoted himself to protecting the rights of all Fort Bend residents and has, throughout his time in office, taken a firm stance against racism and hate-speech. Community participation and political access have been a high priority for Judge George, and this October he led the commissioner court’s decision to improve access to the polls by waiving all transportation fares in Fort Bend County for Election Day. “Fort Bend County is so proud to announce that Fort Bend Public Transportation fares will be waived for Election Day,” said George. “Every vote counts in our democracy, and we are happy to do our part in ensuring all voters have adequate transportation to the polls.” This waiver ensured a higher turnout among Fort Bend lower-income voters.