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TMSL Alumni > A Legacy of Excellence

Sylvia R. Garcia

Sylvia R. Garcia was elected to Harris County Commissioner's Court in November 2002.

The first Hispanic and first woman to be elected in her own right to the office, Garcia replaced Commissioner Jim Fonteno who served nearly 30 years on the Court.

Prior to her election, Commissioner Garcia served as Controller for the City of Houston where she earned a reputation as the taxpayers' watchdog who fought to protect people's pocketbooks.

Garcia also served as Director and Presiding Judge of the Houston Municipal System for an unprecedented five terms under two mayors.

Commissioner Garcia is a native of the South Texas farming community of Palito Blanco.

She attended Texas Woman’s University on a scholarship, graduating with a degree in social work, and received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. 

The eighth of 10 children, she learned at an early age the value of education and hard work. She also learned to be frugal with a dollar; a lesson which serves her well as a County Commissioner. 

Active in the Houston community, the Commissioner has served on more than 25 community boards and commissions, including the San Jacinto Girl Scouts, the Houston Hispanic Forum, the American Leadership Forum, the Texas Southern University Foundation and the Institute of Hispanic Culture.

Commissioner Garcia has been named "Humanitarian of the Year" by the National Conference of Communities and Justice and chosen as one of "Houston’s 25 Power People" by Inside Houston magazine. The Houston Press also named her "Politician of the Year."

Commissioner Garcia is a recipient of the Texas Woman’s University Board of Regents Woman of Distinction Award, the Hispanic Scouting Distinguished Citizen Award from the Sam Houston Area Council/Boy Scouts of America, and the Board Award from the San Jacinto Girl Scouts. 


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