HOUSTON – There was plenty of political Black excellence happening around the country as African Americans won several contests, making history. Locally, there were plenty of “firsts” in just about every city and county in our area.
First Black female Harris County Clerk
Teneshia Hudspeth has made history, becoming the first African American woman to be elected Harris County Clerk. As a 15-year member of the Harris County Clerk’s Office, serving under three Administrations, Hudspeth has held a variety of positions, including Administrative Aide of Public Affairs, Special Projects Coordinator, Voter Outreach Coordinator, Public Information Officer, and Administrator of Communications & Voter Outreach.
With over 17 years of political experience, Hudspeth began her political career with work on Capitol Hill as a Mickey Leland Congressional intern for the Office of Congressman Chet Edwards. Hudspeth graduated from the School of Communications at Texas Southern University. She is also a graduate of Leadership Houston (Class XXXIV) and the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University-the most exclusive campaign school for women in the nation.
First Black Harris County Attorney
Christian D. Menefee has become the youngest and first-ever African American elected Harris County attorney.
Menefee is the son of veterans and attended the University of Texas at San Antonio.
His early education was in the Klein and Alief Independent School Districts.
Menefee is a civil litigation attorney, recently recognized as a 2019 Texas Rising Star by Super Lawyers.
He currently lives in Houston with his wife and two rescue dogs.
Texas City elects first Black mayor
Dedrick Johnson is currently an associate pastor at Greater Saint Matthews Church in Hitchcock. The University of Texas graduate was a math teacher in his hometown of Texas City for 15 years, a city commissioner for nearly 20 years, and has worked at Marathon Oil Refinery for the last decade.
The new mayor-elect is replacing Mayor Matt Doyle and says he has some big shoes to fill. He is no stranger to hard work, however, and reminds the youth that he’s done a little bit of everything.
Johnson says he’s mowed lawns, shelved books at the library and has even worked at pizza place.
First black female county attorney in Fort Bend
Bridgette Smith-Lawson has become the first African American female county attorney in Fort Bend.
She is the Managing Attorney for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, overseeing two regions consisting of up to 23 counties in the Southeast quadrant of Texas.
Smith-Lawson graduated cum laude from Thurgood Marshall School of Law in May 2003 and was licensed in November 2003. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Houston in 2000 with a major in Political Science and a minor in English.
The wife and mother of two also has an impressive community and mentoring background. She has served as a USA Track and Field and AAU Track Coach for a kids’ summer track club and is an active member of Jack and Jill of America, in which she is currently vice president of the Sugar Land chapter.
Fort Bend County elects Black sheriff after more than 100 years
Fort Bend County has some news that’s been a long time coming.
Democrat Eric Fagan defeated Republican Trever Nehls in the race for sheriff.
Fagan is a former HPD officer and Pct. 4 Constable. He earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Master of Science degree in Juvenile Forensic Psychology from Prairie View A&M University.
Fagan says he plans to enact initiatives to help “end police brutality and misconduct and bring more transparency to the sheriff’s office.”
He also plans to have deputies trained to recognize signs of mental illness and learn techniques for de-escalating encounters with citizens, as well as requesting body-worn cameras for deputies who interact with the public.
Fagan is the second Black sheriff elected in the county, dating back to the reconstruction era.
The first sheriff, Walter Moses Burton, held that position more than 150 years ago.
Congratulations to everyone and we are excited to see what’s to come! Go out and do something RIGHT for the communities in which you serve.