Lesley’s Priorities for Precinct 4
It will take thoughtful, determined leadership for Harris County to emerge from the pandemic healthy, safe, and thriving. As our next county commissioner, Lesley Briones will be committed to serving all residents of Precinct 4. Lesley believes the government works for the people. She will prioritize constituent services, will actively listen and seek the input of the community, and will partner with other governmental entities at the city, county, state, and federal levels to drive funding, improvement, and opportunity to Precinct 4.
Lesley will use her proven experience to deliver results in the following key areas.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of access to quality, affordable healthcare. Everyone should be able to see a doctor when they are sick, and no one should be forced to choose between paying for medication or paying for groceries. Lesley’s plan includes:
- Redouble the County’s efforts to persuade the state to provide access to Medicaid insurance coverage to more than 200,000 uninsured Harris County residents.
- Support a bond measure to increase funding for the Harris County Hospital District (Harris Health).
- Explore a partnership with Baylor College of Medicine and other potential providers to locate SmartPod mobile health clinics in areas without easy access to clinics or hospitals.
- Work to increase Harris County’s COVID-19 vaccination rate–-and especially the vaccination rate for our children, which remains near the bottom of the nation’s largest counties.
Hurricane Harvey, Tropical Storm Imelda, and repeated catastrophic flooding demonstrate the constant threat we face in Harris County. There is an urgent need to strengthen flood prevention measures and to improve flood mitigation infrastructure. There are immediate common-sense steps to protect our homes, businesses, and community, and Lesley’s plan includes:
- Engage in aggressive ditch and bayou maintenance so stormwater does not back up into neighborhoods and homes.
- Fully fund all promised projects included in the Flood Bond measure.
- Substantially increase the number of detention ponds in Precinct 4, including small neighborhood greenspaces that can hold back stormwater during major rain events and serve as parks and exercise fields during dry weather.
- Prioritize green solutions to flood prevention, including saving the Katy Prairie and restoring nature-based infrastructure.
- Work with our federal delegation to secure funding for both short-term and major long-term proposals such as fixing the Addicks and Barker Dams, building the Ike Dike and the Galveston Bay Park plan to prevent a catastrophic storm surge in the Ship Channel, and exploring other potential solutions such as a deep, underground tunnel system.
Violent crime is on the rise in Harris County—a trend we are seeing across the nation. One of Lesley’s top priorities will always be to keep our families and neighborhoods safe. As someone who has been the victim of crime various times, as a mother of three young children, and as the goddaughter of a retired law enforcement officer, Lesley takes public safety extremely seriously. Lesley supports immediate and continuing investments in several key areas:
- Support Law Enforcement
- Lesley respects and honors our law enforcement officers and first responders for being on the front lines in the fight to keep our communities safe and is committed to listening to their needs.
- Increase funding for law enforcement, including greater investment in staffing, training, technology, and data-driven initiatives focused on violence reduction and crime prevention.
- Expand the Holistic Assistance Response Team to address mental health, homelessness, and substance abuse crises.
- Support Research-Based Crime Prevention
- Focus on data-driven analytics and mapping to concentrate law enforcement efforts in targeted violent crime hotspots.
- Scale innovative crime prevention initiatives like Harris County’s new Gun Violence Interruption Program and ShotSpotter, which detects the exact location of gunfire and dispatches officers to the scene immediately.
- Eliminate Criminal Case Backlog
- We must eliminate the backlog of cases awaiting trial in the criminal courts. Cases need to be tried expeditiously so that we can seek convictions to get guilty violent and dangerous offenders off our streets, and help victims reach resolution. Accused who are a threat to public safety should be detained as they await trial.
As we emerge from the lingering impacts of the unprecedented shut down of our economy, Lesley will focus on stabilizing and growing family incomes, bringing more good-paying jobs into Precinct 4, and helping small businesses. Her plan includes:
- Push the state to allow cities and counties to set their own minimum wage subject to voter approval, and then seek voter approval to increase the minimum wage in Harris County to $15/hour.
- Invest in infrastructure projects that create good-paying jobs, and require county vendors to pay a living wage, offer health insurance, and provide a safe work environment.
- Provide job-training, skills, and apprenticeship programs, in collaboration with community colleges and unions, to help our residents achieve upward economic mobility.
- Improve public transportation and incentivize transit-oriented development.
- Scale Harris County’s new Office of Economic Opportunity to advance long-term economic growth and to support small businesses and minority/women-owned enterprises and work to expand the program to include other diverse businesses such as veteran-owned and LGBTQ+ owned enterprises.
As a mother of three daughters, Lesley is alarmed by the erosion of their fundamental rights as women, as Latinas, and as human beings. As Commissioner, Lesley will fight to protect women’s constitutional rights, and will oppose attacks on these rights by the state legislature. Lesley will always stand with Texas women.
Lesley believes that the right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and applauds the efforts of Harris County during the 2020 elections. Harris County showed that if you remove the obstacles to voting, people will vote in record numbers. Unfortunately, most of those reforms were overturned in the last session of the Republican-led legislature. Lesley will do everything in her power to protect voting rights, including working to overturn SB 1, Texas’ voter suppression law. Lesley’s plan for protecting the voting rights of Harris County residents and ensuring free, fair, safe elections includes:
- Expand voter education and voter registration efforts to make sure that our electorate can legally exercise their right to vote.
- Continue to fight vigorously in the courts and legislature to remove unconstitutional obstacles to the right to vote.
- Provide the funds, resources, and training necessary to ensure free and fair elections in Harris County and support statewide reforms such as online voter registration, which is currently offered in 42 states and Washington, D.C.