• Press Release

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Nominated by EMILYs List for 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star

April 19, 2021

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2021

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Nominated by EMILYs List for 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, announced that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is a nominee for the eighth annual Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.

“Judge Lina Hidalgo is a trailblazer who has committed her career to improving the lives of Texans,” said Emily Cain, executive director of EMILYs List. “Lina was bold enough to run for a seat many saw as unwinnable and flipped it from Republican to Democratic control, taking the majority of the Commissioners Court with her and changing the lives of the residents of Harris County. In that moment, Lina became the first woman and Latina to hold the position of County Judge and only the second to be elected to the Commissioners Court where she continues to shine as a progressive leader.”

“Lina has opened the doors of government to the public by leading with transparency and welcoming the voices of the people she represents in her decision making. In the Commissioners Court, Lina oversees a nearly $5 billion budget and has promoted innovative policies to expand and protect voting rights, establish disaster recovery systems that have allowed Harris county residents and businesses to prepare and recover from hurricanes and the recent winter storm, and enacted bail reform to create a more equitable and just environment for her constituents. Throughout the pandemic, Lina has repeatedly stood in direct opposition to the state’s failed Republican leaders, from pushing for the county leadership to acknowledge and prepare for the impact of COVID-19, to instituting a forceful response to help Texans recover. Lina is a fighter for her constituents and the EMILYs List community is honored to nominate her for the 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.”

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 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. 

The Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award winner will be chosen with community input.

Judge Lina Hidalgo is nominated alongside:

  • Catalina Cruz,  New York State Assemblywoman 
  • Debra Lekanoff, Washington State Representative 
  • Park Cannon, Georgia State Representative 
  • Jennifer O’Mara, Pennsylvania State Representative 
  • Tram Nguyen, Massachusetts State Representative  

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.