HOUSTON - Harris County's Former Interim County Clerk once grabbed national headlines for how he handled the 2020 election. Monday he announced his next move, a run for Houston's mayor.
Chris Hollins is no stranger to the spotlight. The democratic former Harris County Clerk was slung on the national stage during the 2020 election after breaking turnout records and fighting court battles over expanding voter access.
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"We showed the nation what local government can do when we combine effective leadership and new ideas with a real sense of purpose," says Hollins.
He says his new purpose is leading the city of Houston as its mayor.
Current Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's second term expires in 2023.
This would be the first time Hollins has run for public office, competing for the head of the fourth-largest city in America.
What makes him feel like he could take it on?
"The challenges that are facing Houston, the challenges that we have to overcome, they demand innovation, and they demand effective leadership," says Hollins.
"My entire career I've been a problem solver, whether that's pioneering strategies for large government agencies or advising multinational companies on how to improve the results for the people that they serve. I brought that skill set to the county clerk's office, and I look forward to bringing those same experiences as the next mayor of Houston."
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Hollins says getting results as a county clerk started with learning from other cities, an approach he plans to stick with.
"I want to reach out to experts in various fields that will help us to solve the tough problems that we need to solve to make this the best city in the country to live, to work, and to raise a family," he says.
If elected, at 37, he would be one of the city's youngest mayors.
The restaurant owner is also the principal attorney at Hollins Law Group and sits on Metro's Board of Directors.
Growing up, his parents were fosters to more than 20 children he called family, along with two biological sisters now married to firefighters. He says his background has gifted him with special ties to those who serve the city.
He sat down with FOX 26 immediately after returning home from the funeral of Corporal Charles Galloway, a 12-year veteran of Harris County's Precinct 5 who was gunned down in the line of duty.
"Watching as his 11-year-old daughter was handed a flag in place of the father that she's never going to be able to hug again, that won't be able to walk her down the aisle- it was heartbreaking," says Hollins, fighting back emotions. "As the son of a police officer, I couldn't help but look at that young lady and think that could have been me."
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He says he plans to combat increasing crime by regulating bail bonds and addressing delays in the court system. He also supports more boots on the ground.
"The city of Chicago has a similar population to us and a much smaller footprint, but more than double the amount of officers. We have to look long and hard at what that exact expansion of the police force is and should be, but we know for a fact today that they are undermanned," explains Hollins.
Hollins is hoping an early campaign start will help secure support beyond what he's gotten from his family.
His wife, Morgan, is also a practicing attorney; the couple has a five-year-old daughter and an 18-month-old son.
"I'm a fourth-generation Houstonian, so I have so many family members across this city, and so many of them have stepped up already and said that they want to be a part of what we're doing."
He adds, "I know going into this that every minute we spend campaigning and every minute that we spend serving in the mayor's office is going to be a minute that I'm not here with my kids or spending time with my wife, but you know, we're up for that challenge."
Democrat and long-time state senator John Whitmire announced in November that he will run for mayor as well. Whitmire is also running for reelection to his District 15 senate seat.