HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Eleven years at the helm has given him a unique perspective. He says the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey caused a political sea change, so to speak, in Harris county.
"You can't just harp on lowering property taxes when we have so many things to do," says Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. "And so the public is now aware of that and they've began to step up." Step up and step into the voting booths. 86 percent of them voted to increase taxes for flood control projects.
Judge Emmett says after Hurricane Ike, Harris County forged relationships with agencies and other municipalities to deal with disasters. Now it's time to build infrastructure. In past years, Emmett has been very critical of the state government. This address was less critical, but not free of criticism.
"The state has a rainy day fund and Harvey was obviously a rainy day and it needs to be used for the people who pay the taxes in the first place," says Emmett. He also says the third reservoir and river desilting projects can't be accomplished without those funds because they cross county lines. While his talk was hurricane heavy, he says the county faces other risks.
"That doesn't mean just from natural disasters," describes Emmett. "It means mental health crisis. It means from public health crises, it means from stray animals."
Emmett adds that he's very concerned about the rise of the anti-vaccine movement. He worries that an outbreak of some illness could be on the horizon.