By Mary Alys Cherry
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is only 30 years old but is raking in achievements usually saved for those far older.
In September, she was named to Fortune magazine’s “40 Under 40” list; now she has been named to Time magazine’s prestigious “Next 100 Most Influential People” list. In an article for Time by former Democratic senatorial candidate and Congressman Beto O’Rourke, she is praised for her «persistence, tenacity and intelligence.”
Hidalgo, when she was just 27, was elected to be the chief executive of a county that is the third largest in population in the country. O’Rourke notes, “She is doing an incredible job as judge, as evidenced by her efforts to quickly respond to COVID-19.” Among her responsibilities is her job of serving as presiding officer on the Harris County Commissioners Court, overseeing a $4.3 billion budget, county infrastructure and setting tax rates.
O’Rourke thinks she has really distinguished herself. “That’s what leadership looks like,” he adds. “It’s hard to imagine a tougher set of circumstances to confront in your first term in office, but [Hidalgo] has really distinguished herself and makes us proud—not just as Democrats but as Texans,” O’Rourke wrote of his fellow Texas Democrat. This is what he wrote for Time:
“Lina Hidalgo’s persistence, tenacity and intelligence were clear from the moment I met her on the campaign trail in Texas in 2017. At the time, she was running for Harris County judge, and I was running for the U.S. Senate. I soon realized that she also had an extraordinary level of humility that is rare to find in somebody pursuing public office.”
“At 27, Hidalgo was elected to be the chief executive of a county that has more people in it than in the state of Nevada. Now 29, she is doing an incredible job as judge, as evidenced by her efforts to quickly respond to COVID-19—-Harris County announced a mask mandate in April 2020, but a statewide policy didn’t follow until July—as well as to expand her constituents’ access to the ballot box. Early-voting sites offered by the county nearly tripled last year.”
“It’s hard to imagine a tougher set of circumstances to confront in your first term in office, but she has really distinguished herself and makes us proud—not just as Democrats but as Texans. That’s what leadership looks like.”