Beloved or maligned — depending on who you ask and the time of day — Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is at the very least prolific. Now, a national publication has recognized the 30-year-old politician in a prestigious list.
Time Magazine has released its 2021 Time100 Next list and Hidalgo figures prominently under the “Leaders” section. The ranking “highlights 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future—what struck me most was how its members are coping with crisis,” per the publication. The essay was penned by fellow progressive politico Beto O’Rourke.
In his piece, the former Texas congressman says that Hidalgo’s “persistence, tenacity, and intelligence” were clear when he met her on the campaign trail in 2017. (Hidalgo was running for Harris County judge, O’Rourke for U.S. Senate.)
He also credits her swift action on a local mask mandate, noting that while Harris County enacted mask-wearing orders in April 2020, Texas didn’t follow suit until July. O’Rourke also praised Hidalgo for pushing for early voting county sites, which tripled in 2020.
“It’s hard to imagine a tougher set of circumstances to confront in your first term in office,” O’Rourke continues, “but she has really distinguished herself and makes us proud—not just as Democrats but as Texans. That’s what leadership looks like.”
Overseeing a county that boasts more residents (4.5 million) than many U.S. states, Hidalgo has been in power since unseating the wildly popular Ed Emmett in 2018.
Aside from overseeing an approximately $4.3 billion budget, Hidalgo’s responsibilities also include setting tax rates; calling for bond elections; building and maintaining county infrastructure such as roads and bridges; and overseeing county courthouses, jails, libraries, parks, and the Harris County Flood Control District.
She is also the county’s director of emergency management, leading the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, per her official bio.