Q&A: Get to know the Democratic candidates for Harris County Precinct 2 commissioner before the March 1 primary

The winner of the March primaries will be on the ballot in the November general election. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The winner of the March primaries will be on the ballot in the November general election. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The winner of the March primaries will be on the ballot in the November general election. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Three Democratic candidates and five Republican candidates are running for the Harris County Precinct 2 commissioner position in the upcoming March primaries.

Among the Democratic candidates are George Risner, Gary Harrison—who did not respond to requests for comment as of press time—and incumbent Adrian Garcia.


The winners for each party in the March primaries will be on the ballot in the November general election. Candidate responses may have been edited for length and clarity. Candidates are included below in the order names appear on the Harris County ballot.

*Indicates incumbent







George Risner



Experience: Lifetime resident of Precinct [2]; strong record of public service in and knowledge of Precinct 2


Occupation: Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, Place 2


Candidate Website: www.runrisnerrun.com


Contact_info: 832-429-5465





What inspired you to run for this office and what qualifications do you possess?



My passion has been to improve the quality of life in Precinct 2. The office of commissioner has a direct impact on the community. My four decades of public service in elected offices and participation in local civic and business organizations has given me the asset of leadership. I want to use this experience to make a difference by making our neighborhoods safer, our justice system responsive and fair, and our county's budget fiscally sound.



What would your top priorities be if elected?



A fair and equal system of justice, no matter a defendant's racial, ethnic, economic or educational status is critical. Precinct 2 must devote sufficient resources to maintain the Precinct's roadways, bridges and infrastructure, to support both our local economy and that of the county. Precinct 2 must use its efforts to secure low-income housing, to encourage business opportunities in the precinct, to provide adequate law enforcement and to enhance health care in the community.



What do you believe the county government's role should be in COVID-19 response?



Harris County has and continues to make effective efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic by undertaking such activities as: encouraging safety protocols; distancing and masking; providing vaccinations; allowing [employees] paid time for illness or required isolation relating to COVID-19; equipping county facilities with safety equipment, disinfectants and health screening tools; providing testing within the community; enhancing the county's health services; providing public education; and maintaining current statistical and other information on the county's website.



What needs do you see for parks and roads in Precinct 2 and what can be done to improve them?



The Precinct 2 Parks and Trails Division reports some 55 parks comprising over 4,000 acres and 27 miles of trails. Maintenance of these community assets would be a priority. Further expansion might include small local parks to serve neighborhood communities, providing a place for families safely to gather and children to play. Focus on roads and bridges surrounding the [Houston] Ship Channel and refineries would protect the precinct's industries and enhance safety in the area.



What do you think the role of county government is supposed to be?



Counties have the powers granted by the Constitution to provide for the needs of its citizens, [such as] public safety, a justice system, economic development and the overall betterment of the community. County government levies taxes and expends funds for public purposes, law enforcement, jail, criminal justice, roads and bridges, flood control and drainage, countywide health services, emergency management, parks and libraries. Counties hold elections and register voters.



How would you work to prevent future flooding in the district or minimize its effects?



As commissioner, I could use my influence and vote on commissioners court to seek federal assistance for flood damages, the issuance of bonds for flood mitigation, and contracts for flood control and prevention. Also, on a precinct level, I would support the maintenance of roads and bridges that would be used if evacuations were necessary, the creation of adequate detention areas in the precinct and the enhancement of warning systems for flood-causing weather events.



What kind of investments would you like to see the county make to improve its criminal justice system?



An equal system of justice for all defendants is imperative. Judges should see that trials are set to avoid delay, and prosecuting attorneys should be assigned to cases rather than to courts, so that each defendant may move through the system as rapidly as possible. Bail should be sufficient to assure the appearance of the defendant, but with regard to the criminal history of the defendant and protection of the community and a speedy trial.












Gary Harrison






Candidate did not submit responses as of publication.















Adrian Garcia*



Experience: [Houston Police Department] officer, Houston City Council, mayor pro tem, Harris County sheriff, Harris County commissioner


Occupation: Harris County Commissioner Precinct 2


Candidate Website: www.adriangarcia.com


Contact_info: 832-429-5465





What inspired you to run for this office and what qualifications do you possess?



I ran for county commissioner in 2018 because I saw no one at Precinct 2 working for the people. We've turned that around. Throughout my public service career as a [Houston Police Department] officer, Houston City Council member, Harris County sheriff andu2014for the past three yearsu2014commissioner, I have served those in our community who have been left behind or left without. My focus has been on education, jobs, healthy families, mental health care and flood protection.



What would your top priorities be if elected?



Public safety and criminal justice reform; job creation, training and placement; economic equality and equitable economic development; access to quality, affordable health care, including quality affordable mental health care; strong neighborhoods anchored by strong schools, affordable housing and good infrastructure; flooding; homelessness and environment.



What do you believe county government's role should be in COVID-19 response?



Unfortunately, our state leadership tied the county's hands when it came to COVID-19 response. We must regain local control over issues like public health to protect our residents. Meanwhile, while politicians were fighting over pandemic politics, my office was in our precinct helping our constituents. I worked to get meals to shut-in seniors, vaccine shots into the arms of essential workers and mobile health care units to increase access to affordable health care.



What needs do you see for parks and roads in Precinct 2 and what can be done to improve them?



Our parks are vitally important and must be maintained, expanded and used for outreach programs. Our community centers have many programs for young and old. We built a playground at Olson Park that can be utilized by all children, including those who are differently-abled. We used our parks to provide free food for those in need during the pandemic. Study Zones at parks provide free Wi-Fi for students to use for study and virtual learning.



What do you think the role of county government is supposed to be?



Each Harris County commissioner is in charge of infrastructure, parks and outreach programs in their precinct. In addition, commissioners set policies for the entire county and manage the budget for county departments and agencies.



How would you work to prevent future flooding in the district or minimize its effects?



For the second year, we completed more than 1.2 million linear feet of ditch maintenance in Precinct 2 to help prevent flooding and broke ground on numerous flood improvement projects. We continue to look for more revenue to fund the irresponsible shortfall in the list of projects promised by my predecessor in connection with the $2.5 billion flood bond. I am committed to continuing evaluating flood control and other infrastructure projects through an equitable lens.



What kind of investments would you like to see the county make to improve its criminal justice system?



We championed major public safety investments this year [including] $15 million for body cameras, protective equipment and new technology for law enforcement officers; $3 million in overtime for the Harris County Sheriff's Office to round up dangerous criminals; $2.6 million to put more deputies in violent crime hotspots; $500,000 for lighting improvements in parks; more funding to clear up the backlog of court cases; and a gun violence interruption program that has dramatically reduced shootings elsewhere.







By Ally Bolender

Reporter, The Woodlands

Ally joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2021 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Texas State University. Ally covers education, local government, transportation, business, and real estate development in The Woodlands. Prior to CI, Ally served as news content manager of KTSW FM-89.9 in San Marcos, Texas.