In his seventh State of the County address, Judge Emmett told the nearly 1,000 attendees that the nation's third most populous county is in excellent financial condition.
"We all know without sound finances, no entity can perform its job. So Harris County is in a good position, because of those sound finances. But at all times and in all previous state of the county speeches, I have maintained that the true state of the county is measured by the quality of the life of its residents. That is still the best measure of the state of the county."
He told the audience at the Hilton Americas downtown that in years past he's spoken about goals to make the county even better, like transportation, health care for all, criminal justice and hurricane preparedness, just to name a few. But he says ensuring the best future for Harris County's youngest residents should be a priority as well, especially in areas of:
"Daycare, education, nutrition, healthcare, and the development of non-cognitive skills are all important. I believe we have the opportunity to create a forum, and I'd like to call that forum, "Whole Child Development." Not focusing on one little piece, but let's look at the whole child, and as county judge I will create such a forum during this coming year."
Surrounded by other rapidly growing counties, Emmett says it's important that as the largest player in the region, Harris County works to ensure the development of the infrastructure necessary for continued regional vitality. Emmett closed by saying it was time to ask how the metropolitan region can be governed more efficiently.
Reaction to Emmett's speech seemed positive:
Female attendee: "I'm glad that Judge Emmett is taking a lead, in considering these type issues that we need to have to bring us forward in the future."
Male attendee: "Every time you can find efficiencies, I've been in federal government for 10 years, and those constant look for efficiencies and better working, absolutely. Everyone should be doing that. I think it's a great idea."
Female attendee: "The whole conversation about the county, and things we need to think about in the future as it relates to what the county does well. Certainly, let people it's something to think about."
Emmett was elected Harris County Judge in 2007.