Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia was recently elected to serve as the chairman-elect of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties. At the end of her two-year term as chairman-elect Dec. 31, 2011, Garcia will automatically be elevated to the office of chairman of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties.
As chairman-elect, Garcia will serve on the board of directors, which is responsible for directing the business of the association, and provide leadership on legislative and policy issues for the 35 member counties of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties. Garcia was first elected to serve on the Urban Counties Board of Directors as vice chairman of policy in 2007.
The Texas Conference of Urban Counties was organized in 1975 by the six largest counties in Texas (Harris, Dallas, Bexar, Tarrant, El Paso, and Travis counties). Over time, other less populous urban counties have recognized the benefit of working together as urban counties. Today there are 35 member counties, representing almost 80 percent of the population of Texas.
The central focus of the Urban Counties is to improve the ability of county government to provide essential and necessary services at the lowest cost possible. To this end, the Urban Counties serves as an advocate on county government issues and develops cooperative programs that generate savings by combining the purchasing power and market influence of multiple counties. The Urban Counties also provides educational opportunities that are tailored to the needs of urban county judges and commissioners.
Garcia has represented Harris County Precinct 2 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. She also currently serves as president of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).
Prior to her election as commissioner, Garcia served as city controller for the city of Houston since 1998. Prior to elected office, she distinguished herself as chief judge of Houston’s Municipal Court System as the first Hispanic, the first woman, and the youngest person ever to hold that post. Garcia earned her law degree from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.