As a native Texan, I am constantly conflicted with the nonsense that is happening in our state. However, there are powerful elected officials like Judge Lina Hidalgo who make me extra proud to be a Tejana. In 2018 when I saw her victory over the 11-year incumbent, I felt a great sense of pride that a woman who shared similar experiences and even similar physical features to me would go on to take office.
The conflict of being a Texan comes from knowing that the richness of your state comes from the vast diversity it has to offer. Yet, we are governed by a group that looks vastly the same – white, male, and disconnected from the realities of everyday working people. Judge Lina Hidalgo is a breath of fresh air because she connects the reality of everyday Texans with the power to make life better for us.
When she was running for office, I did a quick Google search and found her story to be even more compelling. Hidalgo was a prime example of who I, or any of my friends could be: a young ambitious Latina with an immigrant background pursuing office under her own accord. No rules, no ulterior motives, just wanting to serve the people of Harris County. What’s more impressive is the office she decided to pursue.
Hidalgo pursued and won the county judge office for Harris County. Harris County is the third-most populous county in the entire country. It is located in the southeastern part of Texas and includes Houston along with its surrounding cities and suburbs. As county judge, she manages a multi-billion dollar budget and as director of emergency management, she oversees the response to major storms that the Houston area experiences.
After winning her election, The New York Times interviewed her and Hidalgo was quoted as saying, “I’m not tied to the powers that be.” Being bold and unapologetic about running for office, Hidalgo sought to improve the lives of Texans. Since entering office she has gained popularity for running a smooth operation and speaking up when she feels compelled to do so. After last month’s freezing winter storms, she took to Twitter to call out Governor Greg Abbott for rolling back COVID restrictions that would ultimately hurt Texans. Once again, she proved to be unapologetic and show up for the betterment of Texas.
While some might peg her as entitled and inexperienced because of her age (She’s currently 29 and became elected at age 27), I admire her boldness. While so many compare her to her male counterparts, it should be noted that her background has a large impact on the way she makes decisions. Hidalgo is a Colombian immigrant who arrived in the United States with her parents in 2005 after leaving their home country in the midst of a drug war. Hidalgo went on to live in Peru and Mexico before immigrating to Houston at the age of 15. She went on to pursue her undergraduate degree at Stanford and her graduate degrees in law and public policy at Harvard and New York University before putting them on hold to run for office.
When you have a background where you have faced the uncertainty of living in your home country and have uprooted your life hoping things would turn out better, you develop a sense of purpose. Your purpose is one that guides you to make bold decisions because in the face of adversity you’ve managed to push through and listen to your gut.
Judge Lina Hidalgo is a mujer to admire, not only because of her tremendous accolades and awards, but because at the core of all the things she’s done and been admired for. Hidalgo stands an unapologetic Latina that shows up authentically and speaks her truth while bringing her community along in the impactful decisions she makes every day.
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