“County government can do more, and we believe that Adrian Garcia is the right man for the task.”Houston Chronicle Editorial Board
OPINION // RECOMMENDATIONS
For County Commissioner, Precinct 2: Adrian Garcia
County government is often critiqued for its opacity, behind-the-scenes operations and connection to political insiders over the general public. The county government also builds and maintains roads, flood control projects and other critical infrastructure with an ease that sometimes seems to elude city government.
Harris County is run by commissioners court, and no single member better reflects this dual nature of county government than Jack Morman. He’s media shy and stays out of the spotlight. Unlike other members of the court, Morman doesn’t seem to have a major personal project. He’s not building a greenbelt park system. He’s not calling for change in the criminal justice center. He hasn’t become a thought leader in resilience. He was first elected to this seat in 2010 after working as a civil attorney and since then Morman has held the seat quietly, effectively and scandal-free. He told us his big project involved better cooperation between the county and the local governments in this largely incorporated precinct.
We’re not convinced that’s enough.
County government can do more, and we believe that Adrian Garcia is the right man for the task.
The biggest difference between the candidates became clear during their joint meeting with the Houston Chronicle editorial board. Garcia presented what he saw as problems with Precinct 2, which largely covers east Harris County and a sliver of near Northside up to Beltway 8. He listed low health insurance coverage, poor educational attainment, dangerous pollution and a litany of other issues that needed addressing.
Morman, on the other hand, seemed to take offense at this description of the precinct and instead insisted it was a great place to live.
County government has limited authority, but we should expect our elected officials to see challenges through clear eyes. If Morman only views his job through the lens of roads, floods and intergovernmental agreements, then that’s all he’ll accomplish.
Garcia has his flaws — notably his political opportunism. After being elected to city council and then Harris County sheriff, he made a failed run for mayor and then an ill-considered run for Congress. However, with his background in city government and in county law enforcement, he has a resume well tailored for this role. Garcia would also bring Hispanic representation to a precinct that is majority Hispanic.
Besides a familiar face, Garcia offers something else for a position that has roughly 1 million constituents: He is good at being a politician. He can lead a parade. He cuts a ribbon well. We think he could harness this seat to become a real advocate for the people who live within the precinct.
Garcia would also offer some much-needed support to Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis, a Democrat, who is pushing for structural reforms throughout county government.
This isn’t to say Morman has done a poor job. We like that he thinks Texas should expand Medicaid and he’s earned plenty of endorsements from labor and law enforcement groups.
But the nature of our county is changing and we think it is time for county officials to step out from before the scenes.