Harris Co. judge, Houston mayor select COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Czars

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo named State Representative Armando Walle as the county's COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Czar.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner are each selecting a COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Czar for the county and the city.

On Monday morning, Judge Hidalgo named State Representative Armando Walle as the county’s Relief and Recovery Czar.

Judge Hidalgo says the goal is to make sure that the area’s relief and recovery efforts are inclusive, fast, and coordinated.

“Let me stress that this is about relief and recovery. The fact that we’re naming a Czar does not mean the crisis is over. We're still responding to this. We still have not hit the peak,” Judge Hidalgo said. “We've been working on feeding, on child care, on homelessness, on economic resilience, but the truth is saving lives has been my number one priority and I want to make sure that none of these issues fall to the background even as we respond to the crux of the crisis. Which is why my representative and the mayor's representative will ensure that they don't.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced former Shell Oil president Marvin Odum as his pick for the city's Recovery Leader Monday afternoon.

Odum oversaw the recovery efforts in Houston following the devastation brought on by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. He advised the mayor on storm recovery efforts and how best to spend the tens of billions of dollars that were sent to the city after the destructive storm.

Mayor Turner says there are four critical issues Odum is going to focus on: how to restart the economy, strategies and adjustments if we see an increase in positive cases, protecting at-risk vulnerable populations, and how do we prepare for the next pandemic viral attack.

"You can expect this plan will be gradual and phased," Odum said. He said it will take time to get us back to the normal we remember.

More than 4,800 COVID-19 cases and more than 70 deaths have been reported in Harris County and the City of Houston.

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