In his 5th state of the county address as Harris County Judge, Ed Emmett told the crowd of over a thousand city and business
leaders, and employees who answer to them, that the easy answer in describing the state of this county in 2012 is good.
"In 2012, we enjoy the benefits of actions taken and decisions made by county officials years ago. And the decisions made by Harris County officials today, will affect generations yet unborn. Harris County, starting with the Commissioners Court, is maintaining a focus on the future."
He talked about the list of roads, parks and drainage improvements that are ongoing. But Emmett emphasized examples of county substance that might go unnoticed — the County Office of Emergency Management — regarded as one of the best in the
country, and the work of the County Fire Marshal's Office, that proved its worth during last year's wildfires.
Emmett said our criminal justice system must help prevent young offenders from lapsing into a life of crime.
"And at a time when healthcare is a national and state issue, Harris County simply must lead the way, in providing our indigent population with medical homes that provide preventive care. And a county and as a society, we must constantly search for ways to assist those among us with mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Better delivery of services to this segment of our population, will not only make for a better society. It will lessen the pressure on our jails and our hospitals."
He says that would make for a more efficient use of of public dollars.
After, I asked those in attendance what they thought of Judge Emmett's address:
Female 1: "I thought it was very uplifting and made us confident in the future of Harris County."
Male 1: "... Excellent. Always good!"
Female 2: "Well, I thought it was excellent, very well received."
PH: "How about you ma'am?"
Female 3: "I thought, well prepared, and I have to tell you for me, it just makes me so proud to live where we live in the city of Houston and the county of Harris."
Emmett says despite tight finances and a growing population, county leaders are committed to providing efficient and effective government.