For Immediate Release
May 4, 2021
EMILY's List Announces Harris County, Texas Judge Lina Hidalgo as the Winner of the 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, announced that the 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award will be awarded to Harris County, Texas Judge Lina Hidalgo. The award will be presented at the virtual We Are EMILY Conference on May 18th and will feature a panel with the nominees moderated by Secretary Hillary Clinton.
“We are honored to announce Judge Lina Hidalgo as the recipient of the 2021 EMILYs List Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award. Lina, the first woman and first Latina to be elected Harris County judge and only the second to be elected to Harris County’s Commissioners Court, truly embodies the values this award represents by leading with compassion, commitment to community, and as a champion for families,” said Emily Cain, executive director of EMILYs List.
“Under Lina’s leadership, Harris County has made tremendous progress toward becoming a more safe, equitable, and just community for all of its residents. Lina worked to establish disaster recovery systems to prepare for hurricanes and recover from the recent winter storm, passed a resolution supporting transgender children, and advocated against abortion restrictions in Texas. In a state with some of the biggest restrictions to voting, Lina has promoted innovative efforts to improve voting access, establishing Harris County as a leader in the state of Texas when it comes to voter accessibility. While the country works to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, Lina continues to be a champion for families by leading with transparency and committing to using the federal aid from the American Rescue Plan to prioritize health, housing, and jobs. We are proud to recognize Lina’s fearless leadership and positive impact on her community, and celebrate her as a rising star and inspiration to others in American politics.”
Judge Lina Hidalgo was born in Colombia and grew up in Peru and Mexico where her parents were offered job opportunities, before emigrating to the United States in 2005. Lina is a proud product of Houston-area public schools and was the first in her family to attend college in the U.S. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science the same year she became a U.S. citizen. Since arriving in Texas, Lina has been committed to giving back. Lina dedicated hundreds of hours to her county’s most vulnerable communities—from her time at the Texas Civil Rights Project to serving as a medical interpreter and supporting immigrants in search of lost loved ones. Lina is the first woman and Latina to be elected Harris County judge and only the second to be elected to Harris County’s Commissioners Court.
Named in honor of the dedicated and courageous Gabrielle Giffords, the Rising Star Award celebrates an extraordinary woman serving in state or local office. The award honors a woman who demonstrates the sort of commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and determination and civility that have been the highlights of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ career, in and out of office. Previous Rising Star Award recipients include former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in 2014, former Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley in 2015, former Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran in 2016, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym in 2017, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in 2018, California Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo in 2019, and Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes in 2020.
EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $700 million to elect Democratic pro-choice women candidates. With a grassroots community of over five million members, EMILY's List helps Democratic women win competitive campaigns – across the country and up and down the ballot – by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running nearly $50 million in independent expenditures in the last cycle alone, and turning out women voters and voters of color to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country's first woman as vice president, 157 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 16 governors, and more than 1,300 women to state and local office. More than 40 percent of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. After the 2016 election, more than 60,000 women reached out to EMILY's List about running for office laying the groundwork for the next decade of candidates for local, state, and national offices. In our effort to elect more women in offices across the country, we have created our Run to Win program, expanded our training program, including a Training Center online, and trained thousands of women.