Summer 2022 Fellow: Lisa Lu, ’23

Office Description:

In Texas, counties are governed by four county commissioners and a county judge, who is actually the county’s executive and not a member of the judiciary. In Harris County, the Commissioners Court plays a critical role that is part administrative, part legislative, and part judicial. Its many responsibilities include adopting a budget; 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. Harris County Commissioners Court also oversees a $4.3 billion budget that helps pay for key services. In addition to serving on Commissioners Court, the county judge serves as the Director of the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Harris County is the third largest and one of the most diverse counties in the nation, with a population of 4.7 million people. About half the county’s residents live in unincorporated parts of Harris County, while the remainder live in Houston or one of many small cities within the county. Since 2019, Lina Hidalgo has served as Harris County Judge. A Stanford alumna, she is the first woman to be elected County Judge and only the second to be elected to the Commissioners Court.

Projects Fellow Should Expect:

The Fellowship provides a hands-on experience for current or recently graduated college students who are passionate about supporting complex public policy initiatives. Policy fellows will:

  • Work with fellow policy team members to maintain the Judge’s policy and research agenda
  • Conduct research around a variety of policy topics while producing written materials, including policy memos, issue reports, and presentations
  • Collaborate on a variety of policy topic areas, as needed, including but not limited to: Transportation, Housing, Criminal & Juvenile Justice, Infant-Toddler and Caregiver Support, Economic Opportunity & Development, Public Health, and Environment
  • Transform qualitative and quantitative data into easily shareable and digestible information to be shared with County Judge’s Office leadership
  • Analyze the implications of events and policy decisions that are relevant to the Judge’s policy and research agenda
  • Work with other County Judge’s Office team members to facilitate engagement with the community to inform the office’s policy efforts

Desired Skills:

  • Proven ability to meet multiple deadlines and balance numerous projects in a fast-paced and changing environment
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills
  • Must demonstrate a strong sense of urgency and initiative; highly organized and with the ability to achieve systematic delivery under tight deadlines
  • Ability to prioritize effectively; superb time management skills
  • Excellent teamwork skills and ability to work autonomously with accountability

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