By Gilbert Hoffman
Speaking last week at a North Channel Chamber luncheon, Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia covered a wide range of topics related to his concepts of improving conditions for all the residents.
Garcia said that his focus at all times is on Precinct 2, and what he can do to better conditions there. He said a fundamental change in how the precinct is run is his emphasis on spending county money to hire companies and workers that are located in the precinct. He introduced his purchasing director, Jose Jimenez, saying he was they key to implementing the new plan.
Garcia reflected on his first seven months in office, and how it seemed like an unending string of catastrophes. He noted that his term started the first week with an ExxonMobil fire in the refinery in Baytown, and currently was ending the period the same way with the same disaster. He noted that the refineries in Precinct 2 have a history of violations of air and water pollution, and vowed that the county would implement new procedures to minimize these. Because of the large number of petrochemical plants in his district, he said that environmental concerns and safety would be a primary concern that he would focus on.
Garcia noted that his precinct has the lowest household income in the county, and related to that is the lowest home ownership percentage. He noted how important this is, related to other problems of educational achievement and crime rates.
He said a priority is to raise the level of educational achievement, and as a start he has partnered with HCDE, the Harris County Department of Education, to provide free SAT college preparation for about 200 motivated students that need help to pass the college entrance tests. This is a four week course for high school students, and if successful will be repeated for more. Garcia noted that passing the SAT will open more educational opportunities, and result in more job and career choices and opportunities.
Garcia told the students, “Go on to succeed, but come back to Precinct 2 and Give Back.”
Garcia said that healthcare was a major concern, and noted that he had started the first “food pantry” at a Clinic in the district, to provide more healthy food to clients. He noted that other factors affecting access to good healthcare included transportation, which is being provided.