Ed Emmett talks about his time as Harris County judge, hopes for 2019 and the future of the Republican Party in Texas

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Ed Emmett presided over the last meeting of the Harris County Commissioners Court in 2018 the morning of Dec. 18, his final meeting as county judge after 12 years in the position. After the meeting, Emmett talked to reporters about his time in office and thoughts on county and state politics going into 2019.

“I’ve enjoyed my time as county judge,” Emmett said. “I believe I’ve accomplished a lot.”

The county’s mental health facilities and office of emergency management are two areas Emmett has said he is particularly proud of during his time in office.

Emmett also acknowledged his defeat Nov. 6 to newcomer Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat, was a surprise to many in the county.

“Everybody seems to … still be in a bit of a state of shock, but that’s the way politics runs,” he said.

Among unfinished business Emmett said he hopes will continue to progress are the $2.5 billion in Harris County Flood Control District projects approved by voters this year. Items on the morning’s agenda approved by commissioners related to flood prevention include authorization to initiate planning, design and construction of stormwater detention basins in large buyout areas in the Cypress Creek watershed as well as major maintenance of Cypress Creek and its tributaries. Commissioners also approved acceptance of the Little Cypress Creek watershed’s master plan and authorization to implement the plan through right of way acquisition, stormwater detention basins and channel improvements, according to the meeting agenda. A total of about $291 million for projects in the Cypress Creek watershed is included as part of the bond project list.

Emmett said he feels his performance in the Nov. 6 election shows voters support his brand of Republicanism, since he said he received more than 80,000 more votes than some other Republican candidates up for election this year.

“I watched the Democratic party destroy itself for a period of time, and I hope the Republican party doesn’t do that,” Emmett said. “I hope the Republican party gets the message, and I believe they will. They’re going look up and see who wins, who are the Republicans who seem to actually get the most votes in an area, and I think I reflect that. Whether I ever run for anything again remains to be seen.”

Emmett said his immediate plans include becoming a nontenured professor and senior fellow at the Kinder Institute for Urban Study at Rice University.

In other business at the Dec. 18 meeting, Commissioners Court also recognized the retirement of Harris County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jay Coons, who has served in Harris County for 36 years, most recently as captain of District 1, which includes Spring and Klein.

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Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of the paper in March 2017.
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