Harris County, Texas (August 29, 2023) – In a unanimous vote today, Harris County Commissioners approved the first six appointees to the County’s new LGBTQIA+ Commission.
Commissioner Lesley Briones spearheaded the creation of the history-making commission in June to amplify the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community and to promote equality. The Commission will provide actionable recommendations to improve economic, social, health, and safety outcomes for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“The Human Rights Campaign recently declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQIA+ people for the first time in its history following a slate of harmful and discriminatory legislation. Now, more than ever, we must ensure LGBTQIA+ voices are represented in Harris County’s decision-making processes,” said Commissioner Briones.
Commissioner Briones named Brad Pritchett and Dr. María C. González as her appointees. In total, the Commission is composed of 11 seats, nine of which are appointed by the Court. Members of the new Commission will then appoint the remaining two seats.
Mr. Pritchett, who will fill Position 4, is the Field Director for Equality Texas, the largest nonpartisan statewide political advocacy organization working to eliminate discrimination targeting the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Achieving full equality for LGBTQIA+ people is an uphill journey filled with progress and setbacks. Having elected officials who are willing to listen to the concerns of the community and help find practical solutions that can make the lives of LGBTQIA+ people better helps move us closer to achieving that goal,” said Pritchett. “I am honored to be part of the inaugural LGBTQIA+ Commission and am ready to help move Harris County forward on issues of equality.”
Dr. González will fill Position 9 (at-large). She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Houston and is a leading authority on Mexican American literature, Chicana writers, feminist and queer theory, sexuality, and pedagogy. González was among the core group of faculty, staff, and students who helped establish the LGBTQ resource center at UH.
“I thank Commissioner Briones for this opportunity to serve and for the honor to be part of the inaugural Harris County LGBTQIA+ Commission. Because the LGBTQ+ community can still be discriminated against at the local and state level, I applaud Commissioner Briones for creating this commission to begin to address that issue and look forward to working with the group.”
“I am incredibly honored to appoint Brad Pritchett and Dr. María C. González to the Commission. They are proven advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Commissioner Briones. “With their deep knowledge and tireless dedication to advancing equity and inclusion, I know they will bring much-needed perspectives to Harris County. I look forward to hearing their and the entire Commission’s recommendations on tangible changes we can make to better serve our LGBTQIA+ residents and to continue advancing equality in our community.”
In addition to Pritchett and González, Commissioners Court approved the following members to the LGBTQIA+ Commission:
Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis: Brandon Mack (Position 1) and Kylie McNaught (at-large Position 6)
Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia: Victoria Cordova (Position 2) and Ramiro Fonseca (at-large Position 7)
This fall, the County Judge’s Office will nominate appointees for Position 5 and at-large Position 8.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey has not yet submitted nominees.