“She’s 28. She’s an Immigrant. She’s in Charge of Texas’ Most Populous County.”

In 2016, Lina Hidalgo was one of the hundreds of women energized to run for office after the presidential election. The political newcomer, then a graduate student, moved back to Houston to challenge the 11-year incumbent moderate Republican Ed Emmett. Hidalgo, a Colombian-born immigrant, campaigned on a platform of public safety, criminal justice reform, and making county government more accessible to the more than 4 million constituents who call the nation’s third-largest county home. And she won.
Fast forward through her first 100 days and the County’s first female County Judge has already completed #TalkingTransition, a landmark community engagement strategy to ensure all residents understand how county government works. The initiative, managed by HR&A Advisors, reached over 11,000 County residents in five languages through a survey, a public information and education campaign, and a series of town halls and panel discussions. The survey, which focused on populations with historically low levels of civic engagement, revealed widespread concerns about natural disasters, housing, and public transportation.
“If there’s an issue facing our residents, we’ll go over and around a wall to address it. I won’t say it’s not my problem. I’ll figure out what we can do to help it.” Hidalgo recently told The Texas Observer. Unlike her predecessor, the 28-year old Judge-elect has also addressed county flood-control issues in the wake of climate change and suggested cutting funding to detention centers holding immigrant children.
Check out the Texas Observer profile to learn more about the Hidalgo’s progressive policies, how she will oversee the County’s $4.8 billion budget, and how she will face the challenges ahead.
Read the Texas Observer’s profile of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo
Read how HR&A supported the Historic Transition of Judge-Elect Hidalgo