Sylvia R. Garcia (D)
Last modified on: 01-18-2010 16:36:17
Sylvia R. Garcia has represented Harris County Precinct Two as Commissioner since January 2003 when she became the first Hispanic and the first woman in her own right to be elected Harris County Commissioner. Prior to her election as Commissioner, Garcia had served as City Controller for the City of Houston since 1998.
As a County Commissioner, she is responsible for a precinct budget of $65 million and 500 employees. Precinct Two includes 416 square miles, a population of almost one million and 15 municipalities including one quarter of Houston. Her duties include oversight of building and maintenance of road and bridge projects, parks acquisition and development, libraries, health facilities, eight community centers, six county courthouse annexes and the Toll Road System which creates more than $300-million in revenue annually. Her precinct features a major base of operations for NASA, the nationís largest petrochemical complex, the Houston Ship Channel and the Port of Houston, the sixth largest port in the world.
Her role includes appointment of two board members to the Harris County Hospital District, a $900-million provider of health care for indigent patients. She also has oversight and works closely with Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services on issues ranging from public health and immunizations to cleaner air.
Commissioner Garcia has taken a leadership role in both regional and state issues. She serves on the Board of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties, chairing its Policy Committee which reviews all legislation impacting counties representing nearly 80% of the state population.
She also serves on the Board of the Houston-Galveston Area Council of government, the thirteen-county Gulf Coast Planning region organization of Texas. Its service area is 12,500 square miles and contains more than 5.7 million people.
Recently, Garcia was appointed to the region-wide Hurricane Ike Recovery Committee and elected President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).
Prior to elected office, she distinguished herself as Chief Judge of Houstonís Municipal Court System as the first Hispanic, the first woman and the youngest person ever to hold that post. She went on to become the longest sitting Chief Judge, serving five terms under two mayors. Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia worked as a Social Worker while earning her law degree from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in 1978. She earned her undergraduate degree at Texas Womenís University in 1972.