Lina Hidalgo is Harris County judge, who oversees a multibillion-dollar budget in the resiliently red state of Texas.
Who Is Lina Hildago?
Hidalgo, who, at 32, has been serving as Harris County judge—one of the most important elected roles in Texas politics—since January 2019.
She could be the most powerful Democrat you’ve never heard of: a young, recently reelected leader overseeing a multibillion-dollar county budget in the country’s second-most populous state. And she doesn’t have the luxury of cold-shouldering her GOP colleagues. “My focus is on standing up for areas that are never going to vote for me, because I may not be able to change their minds, but I do represent them,” Hidalgo says.
Here’s A Little More On Lina Hidalgo’s Prowess
“When [Hidalgo] was elected, people kept saying, ‘Maybe she’ll run for governor,’ and I kept saying, ‘Harris County has 4.6 million people in it, and if it were a state, it would be the 25th largest in the country. She already is the governor of Harris County,’ ” says the journalist and Texas Tribune cofounder Evan Smith. “Especially during the pandemic, the opportunity to lead such a large population in such a strategically important location gave her opportunity to show what she was made of, and also to pick fights with people above her when necessary, which she seems unafraid of doing.”
Hidalgo and her brother left Colombia when she was five, when her father’s training as an engineer took the family of four to Peru, then Mexico, before landing them in the Houston suburb of Cypress, when Hidalgo was 14. “It was my parents’ dream—like everyone, and certainly in developing countries—for their kids to study in the US,” she says.
Hidalgo maintains a tight circle of friends from growing up in Houston, and her boyfriend, David James, is a civil rights and personal injury attorney at a local firm. James couldn’t take the time off work to come to Thailand, so Hidalgo went with a friend instead. She admits that a week of massages and open-water swimming was exactly what she needed.