Adrian Garcia is a humble, hard-working public servant who grew up in Houston’s Northside, working in his dad’s auto repair shop. He put in 23 years as a Houston police officer, served as Director of the City of Houston’s Anti-Gang Office, became a Houston City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem, and served Harris County as Sheriff.
Today, Adrian is completing his first term as Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 2. Through fires, floods and the pandemic, he has been a steady hand who stays focused on what matters most for our families.
Listed below are just a few of Adrian’s accomplishments during his first term as our County Commissioner.
- Got meals delivered to shut-in seniors, got essential workers vaccinations, and set up mobile health care units to increase access to affordable health care.
- Helped people who lost their jobs pay their rent, helped get funds for small businesses to keep their doors open and their workers on the payroll, and helped train and retrain workers for good-paying jobs.
- Gave out free lunches at area parks to children while schools were closed and free fresh food and water to people struggling with reduced or eliminated paychecks
- Created outdoor study zones so students could keep learning when schools were shut down
- Directed millions of dollars in CARES Act funding to community programs, providing many types of COVID relief that have helped hundreds of residents and small businesses; saved hundreds of P2 small businesses with grants that served as lifelines to keep the doors open
- Approved $42 million to provide emergency medical staffing for overloaded local hospitals
- Committed to public health. Garcia Is a “public health baby”: Growing up, he got his shots, his checkups, his vaccines and his health care at public health clinics
- Made the first motion his first Commissioner Court meeting to add $5 million of General Fund money to the Hospital District budget, which had been long neglected. Followed that up with more in later years.
- Prioritized substantial improvements to the Public Health Department to make it more functional
- Added new SmartPod mobile health care units for COVID testing and vaccinations that will continue to be used after the pandemic to increase access to health care in areas without clinics or hospitals. In one month (August, Wellness Month) the Precinct 2 Health Services team provided more than 3,600 health services and screenings at its Access2Health SmartPods.
- Consistently advocates for the state to expand Medicaid insurance eligibility to bring health coverage to more than 200,000 uninsured Harris County residents and nearly 1.2 million uninsured Texans
- The only commissioner to put in place a crime-fighting technology called Shot-Spotter that detects and analyzes gun fire in our neighborhoods and dispatches officers to the scene immediately
- Launched the VIPER (Violent Persons Task Force) program to track down and arrest people accused of the violent crimes with outstanding warrants for their arrest
- Brought $132 million in new funding to law enforcement budgets since being in office and gave the Harris County Sheriff’s Office $3 million in overtime in the Sheriff’s Department to fight against violent crimes
- Supported criminal justice reform, including misdemeanor cash bail reform that makes sure non-violent offenders are not kept in custody just because they cannot afford bail
- Fighting for police reform, including quick sharing of body cam footage, training officers in de-escalation tactics, and investing in sending mental health experts to some distress calls
- In the last year, approved: $15 million for body cameras, protective equipment, and new technology for law enforcement officers; $3 million in overtime for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to round up dangerous criminals; $2.6 million to put more Harris County deputies in violent crime hotspots; and $500K for lighting improvements in parks
- Approved the hiring of six new associate judges to assist in 22 criminal district courts, funding for visiting judges, and the expansion of jury operations to get rid of the 100,000 criminal case backlog that has contributed to rising crime; called on the state legislature to create new criminal district courts in Harris County
- Launched a gun violence interruption program that has dramatically reduced shootings in other cities
Launched a targeted first responder program that will allow peace officers to focus on solving crimes and use trained health professionals to respond to 911 calls related to homelessness, behavioral health, substance use or non-emergency health or social welfare issues (an estimated 21%-38% of 911 calls)
Facilitated free mental health services
for law enforcement officers coping with trauma through a program with UTHealth Houston Trauma and Resilience Center
- Allocating $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to dismantle 1,100 public nuisance properties to promote public safety and eliminate neighborhood blight.
- Passed a 5% pay increase for sheriff’s and constables’ deputies and district attorney key staff.
- Successfully championed reforms to the for-profit bail bonds industry to eliminate bail discounts that were making it easier for violent offenders to be released back onto our streets; Created a bail bonds dashboard to increase transparency.
- Secured half a billion dollars for critical neighborhood drainage projects and completed 1.2 million feet of roadside ditch and drainage maintenance last year alone to keep our homes and businesses from flooding
- Broke ground on multiple flood prevention projects from the $2.5 billion flood bond
- Working to close the gap in funding created by his predecessor’s promise of flood prevention projects with no secure funding source
- Deployed specially-equipped trucks as part of Precinct 2’s Pothole Repair Program and created a telephone and online hotline for residents to report potholes. Instituted by Commissioner Garcia when he came into office, the Pothole Repair Program allows Precinct 2 road and bridge crews to address potholes when reported within 72 hours.
- Created the Precinct 2 Infrastructure Partnership Program to help make taxpayer dollars go farther on projects the community deems the most beneficial. Local governments, MUDs, school districts, public transit providers, economic development corporations, TIRZs, management districts and public ports can apply to share funding for projects located in Precinct 2. In 2021, the precinct committed to more than $38 million dollars for sidewalk, road, drainage, hike and bike trail improvement projects.
- Revitalized James Driver Park to accommodate children and adults who are differently-abled. James Driver Park is Harris County’s first park space that children and adults of all abilities can use.
- Built a playground at Olson Park that can be utilized by all children, including those who are differently-abled.
- Expanded Wi-Fi connectivity to underserved areas.
- Approved Harris County’s first-ever Office of Economic Opportunity to create a competitive and diverse environment to promote the growth and success of historically underutilized businesses through meaningful participation in the county procurement process.
- Launched an effort in Precinct 2 to track contracts with women-owned and minority-owned small businesses and track whether these small businesses are getting paid fairly for the work they do.
- Established an aggressive vendor outreach program, including training sessions for vendors, social media outreach campaigns, as well as cold-calling vendors within
the different certified databases and to businesses that are located within the Precinct.
- Passed a county nondiscrimination policy that includes protections for LGBTQ+ people
- Supported a first-of-its-kind new partnership between Harris County and a minority-owned bank, Unity National Bank, for county investment accounts
- Moved quickly to uncover and fix substantial flaws in the construction of the Ship Channel Bridge, the county’s single biggest public works project. This investment will not only keep drivers and the Port safe from a bridge failure, but also create good, new construction jobs. It reversed a flawed process whereby Garcia’s predecessor, approved the bridge design days after another bridge designed by the same firm collapsed in Florida, killing several.
- Started free S-A-T and A-C-T prep classes to help get students into college
- Opened a free pre-K and a middle school in Precinct 2 community centers in underserved communities
- Expanding Project GRAD / GRADcafé college & career planning services into Harris County Libraries.
- Working to protect the public from potentially deadly leaks from chemical plants by deploying real-time air quality monitors, and working with HARC, our area’s leading research hub, to use that data to improve emergency response; created a dashboard making the data available to the public
- Working with industry along the ship channel to reduce toxic emissions during the shutdowns associated with extreme weather events
- Working to put the county on a path to using 100-percent renewable energy for county facilities by 2024, reduce pollution, and make sure we have clean air and safe drinking water
- Boosted the homestead exceptions for Harris County residents over age 65 and to cut the county’s tax rate to keep taxes affordable
- Helped lead the creation of the Community COVID Housing Program, a public private partnership with the city, county, and Coalition for the Homeless to end chronic homelessness by providing more housing for homeless individuals and families. The initial joint investment was $65 million to serve 5,000 people experiencing homelessness.
- Added $100 million in county, city, and other funds to the Community COVID Housing Program to house 7,000 more people experiencing homelessness
- Created Employ2Empower, a program that provides jobs to homeless individuals and connects them with resources, including access to housing, to get off the streets