In Harris County, too many working families are struggling to make ends meet even when they work hard every day because Republicans have rigged the system against working families. It's unacceptable that so many families struggle in this region of prosperity. Economic opportunity for every community is a top priority; we must address the crippling economic inequality in our region. That’s why I led the effort to open Harris County’s new Department of Economic Opportunity and Equity, which will help bridge the wealth gap in our communities that have been shut off from good jobs and other opportunities. This work will expand job training and career pathway programs, empower minority- and women-owned businesses and increase access to quality housing, healthcare and education. As we rebuild our infrastructure after Harvey, I have also worked to enact policies that protect local workers hired for local infrastructure repair projects and pay strong wages so more people have the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
Every Harris County community deserves flood protection and access to recovery resources. For decades, Harris County did not fairly and adequately invest in local flood control projects. Making matters worse, federal funding for flood control projects has been based on a formula that weights property value over people when determining what projects will be funded. Areas with higher property values and fewer people have been prioritized over areas with more people living in less expensive homes, even if there is a dangerous, higher risk of flooding. All of this created gross disparities in our infrastructure. This became painfully clear in Harvey’s aftermath, especially for people living in underserved, flood-vulnerable areas that have been passed over repeatedly for flood mitigation funding
That’s why, after Hurricane Harvey, I led the fight to secure funding for urgent local projects using an equity formula that prioritizes flood-vulnerable, neglected neighborhoods and helped establish stronger regulations for unincorporated development to better protect families from flooding across Harris County. While it will take time, I remain committed to ensuring every community is better protected from future flooding as we work to rebuild after Harvey.
Criminal Justice Reform
Criminal justice reform is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. As commissioner, I have advanced criminal justice reform at the local level that protects our rights and our communities. For decades, our justice system has privileged the wealthy while punishing the poor and driven high rates of mass incarceration. I'm proud to have led the effort to end the county’s misdemeanor cash bail practices that unfairly and disproportionately locked up poor people of color charged with nonviolent, low-level offenses and undermined public safety. The fight over bail reform is about establishing a safer, more fair, constitutional system based on equal justice instead of how much money someone has in their pocket so that we can focus on justice reforms that make our communities safer and stronger.
Healthcare is a fundamental human right, and I have always worked to increase access to the healthcare system that poor and working families are too often denied.
One of the most important obligations a local government has to its residents is to ensure that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care services, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.
In Harris County, there are over 1 million people without insurance and affordable access to care.
As Commissioner I have fought for expanded access to services and funding at the Harris County Hospital District and worked to expand access to life-saving critical care and improve services for preventative care, women's healthcare and mental health services.