As a County Commissioner, she is responsible for a precinct budget of approximately $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 nation’s largest petrochemical complex, the Houston Ship Channel and the Port of Houston, the sixth largest port in the world.
She is Chairman-elect of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties, serves on the board of directors of the Houston-Galveston Area Council and recently was appointed its region-wide Hurricane Ike Recovery Committee. In addition, she was elected this year as President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), which made her the first Texan and only second woman to serve as president.
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. She went on to become the longest sitting Chief Judge, serving five terms under two mayors. 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 Women’s University in 1972.