Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is the Chief Executive of Harris County, which, at almost five million residents, has a population larger than that of 25 states. Judge Hidalgo oversees a budget of over $4 billion which funds critical government services and infrastructure. She also serves as Harris County’s Director of Emergency Management.
Lina Hidalgo was born in Colombia when the Drug War still raged and everyone knew someone who had been kidnapped. Her parents moved to America to carve out a new life and get their family to a safer place. She knows from personal experience the importance of protecting public safety and promoting opportunity. Judge Hidalgo graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science the same year she became a US citizen.
Before becoming Harris County Judge, Judge Hidalgo worked throughout Southeast Asia promoting government transparency and freedom of the press, and worked in Harris County as a medical interpreter while volunteering at the Texas Civil Rights Project. She was pursuing a joint MPP/JD at Harvard and NYU before leaving to run for office.
As Harris County Judge, she has overseen the response to floods, fires, hurricanes, the Winter Storm and the COVID-19 pandemic. She has worked to reduce homelessness in Harris County by 20%, invest historic amounts into early childhood education, and make record investments in public safety. From doubling the budget for the Veterans’ Services Office, to instituting “Worst First” on flood recovery and more, Judge Hidalgo works every day to bring meaningful, positive change to Harris County.
Judge Hidalgo has received numerous accolades for her leadership, including the prestigious John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award for her swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Jack Brooks Foundation Leadership Award for her work to protect voting rights and access to the ballot box. She has also been named to the TIME Magazine 100 Next list, as well as Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and Fortune’s 40 under 40. She was also named one of the Carnegie Corporation’s Great Immigrants.
About the Harris County Judge
Harris County is the third-largest county in our nation, with a population rivaling that of the state of Louisiana. The Harris County Judge is the County’s Chief Executive, overseeing a $4.3 billion budget and presiding over the County’s governing body, the Commissioners Court. The Commissioners Court is responsible for setting tax rates, building and maintaining roads and bridges, and operating county courthouses, jails, parks, and the Harris County Flood Control District.
The County Judge is also Harris County’s Director of Emergency Management, leading the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management.