Lina Hidalgo sworn in as Harris County judge, becomes 1st Latina to hold post

January 1, 2019

Lina Hidalgo was sworn in as Harris County judge early Tuesday, becoming the first Latina to hold the post and the first Democrat to do so since 1974.

The 27-year-old Hidalgo was sworn in just after midnight by Judge Mike Engelhart of the 151st Civil Court at the Office of Emergency Management. In addition to leading the county’s Commissioners Court, Hidalgo will be the face of the county’s disaster response.

Hidalgo was joined by her parents and other family members. She succeeds longtime County Judge Ed Emmett, a Republican who steered a massive Hurricane Harvey bond package to passage before being swept out in a blue wave in November. He had led the nation’s third most populous county since 2007.

Hidalogo and other newly elected Harris County officials will participate in a ceremonial swearing at noon at NRG Center. They include Adrian Garcia as Precinct 2 commissioner, Diane Trautman as county clerk, Marilyn Burgess as district clerk and Dylan Osborne as county treasurer.

More than 50 civil and criminal judges will also take their oaths of office.

Adjacent counties also have new county judges. Democrat and Indian immigrant KP George took office in Fort Bend County and Republican Mark Keough has been seated in Montgomery County.

Zach Despart covers Harris County for the Chronicle. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at zach.despart@chron.com.

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