Disaster Preparedness and Flood Elimination
We are learning—at too great a cost—that not enough was flooding over the past decade, and that tinkering with the status quo is irresponsible. We need a County Judge that is overseeing growth in our county with the interests of the community in mind. After decades of warnings, there is no excuse for development that failed to ensure communities were protected from the next flooding event.
As extreme weather events become more common, we can’t be afraid to ask hard questions. We must also consider the climate. The weather will continue to change and, until we get a grip on that, we won’t be prepared.
Lina will fight for change on design standards, floodplain management, and drainage issues. She will not shy away from bold innovation. From her time at Stanford and Harvard, both as a student and researcher, Lina has learned to build coalitions of smart, capable people. She knows to listen to experts before the storm, not just after. She will bring the best minds together with the community to stop flooding in Harris County.
On disaster preparedness more broadly, Lina will emphasize community-centered, long-term risk reduction. She will spearhead an effort to transparently assess and address systemic vulnerabilities, both on flooding and emergency management, working with business and community leaders toward a community-centered resilience plan.
Most importantly, Lina will make sure the community is part of the discussion as we rebuild after Harvey.
Making Sure Every Family Has a Fair Shot
Lina Hidalgo’s own experiences have shown her disadvantage comes in many interconnected challenges. From her work with the Texas Civil Rights Project and as a medical interpreter, Lina saw the way a lack of mental health infrastructure derails people’s lives and lands them in the criminal justice system. Lina would be a completely different person had various things not conspired together: A safe neighborhood, her parent’s ability to have a good job, and an opportunity to earn scholarships that allowed her to go to school. She wants other families to have a fair shot, like she did.
As Harris County Judge, Lina Hidalgo will work to ensure hard-working folks have a fair shot.
She will work to tackle our infrastructure challenges, prioritizing projects in neighborhoods where they are most needed. She will bring the best minds together on flooding. She will work to develop partnerships that promote growth in areas that have been forgotten, but that could thrive with adequate access and services. She will advocate for fair wages and against wage theft. She will promote standards so that workers working with County contractors are safe and so that we are training a workforce for the future.
Making sure our families have a fair shot also means standing up for our community, as the largest County in Texas. She will speak for our community and join leaders throughout our County and State who have said that SB4, the "show-me-your-papers" legislation, undermines local government and ultimately makes us all less safe.
Fixing Our Criminal Justice System
Lina Hidalgo knows the value of growing up in a safe place. Since she immigrated to the United States, she has had the fortune of living in neighborhoods where crime was not a daily presence. But she knows too many people live in neighborhoods where they feel just as unsafe as her family felt in Colombia during the drug war.
DA Ogg, Sheriff Gonzalez, and Commissioner Ellis have already started bringing profound positive change to criminal justice in Harris County, but there is a long way to go. Our Juvenile Detention center, for one, is at 150% capacity and reveals blatant racial and ethnic disparities. We need another person in County leadership to support their work. Change can’t come fast enough for communities that are being left out of the opportunities Harris County has to offer.
As a criminal justice researcher at Harvard, Lina studied the effects of incarceration on children. As Harris County Judge, she will work to promote the smartest and most effective practices for holding kids accountable while promoting their growth and reintegration. Through her criminal justice work, she has seen the importance of strong indigent representation. She will promote a data-driven system to ensure everyone before the court has access to quality representation. Given the huge investment the County makes on criminal justice, one of Lina’s priorities will be to focus on investing funds more effectively. She will promote options that are smart on crime and reduce recidivism while promoting reintegration and saving us money. Lina stands against continuing to fund the County’s defense of discriminatory bail practices through a lawsuit that is wasting millions of County dollars. It is a disservice to our children and communities, who would benefit from that money being reinvested.
Building a Government that is Transparent and Accountable
Lina Hidalgo worked throughout Southeast Asia to support journalists and promote transparency because she knows that information is power. For one, information helps us keep government accountable. There are also brilliant people in our County who could help us come up with better ideas but cannot easily access information about what County government is doing.
As Harris County Judge, Lina Hidalgo will work to build a Commissioners Court that is more in touch with the community.
She will support a data-driven approach to innovation. She will push for information to be readily available on County programs, their progress and targets, and the results and outcomes to show for an investment. The same goes for procurement projects. Making sure all data is easily accessible will allow citizens to hold government accountable and will allow partners to help us find innovative solutions to local challenges.
She will work to build communication and connections with the community, so that all understand the role of the County Commissioners Court and have easy access at key decision points. She will prioritize community meetings on issues before the Commissioners Court to ensure people have a true say in the way their money is spent. More broadly, Lina will work to coordinate and support partnerships, including with the breadth of community-based efforts taking place throughout our County.
On criminal justice, Lina will push for the collection of data on racial discrepancies throughout the criminal justice system from start to finish.