Here’s the Chron overview of the race for Harris County Judge.
Incumbent Ed Emmett, a Republican, talks of double-tracking bridges for freight, attracting foreign investment to build toll roads, and planning commuter rail in such a way that it can be considered a precursor to high-speed rail and can qualify for federal funding.
“Our region’s future is tied directly to us becoming the gateway to North America,” Emmett said. As more international trade comes in ever-bigger ships from places such as India, Brazil and Africa, Emmett said, shippers will want to make one stop on this continent, and if Harris County wants to be that stop, it will need to invest in transportation and infrastructure.
Part of that investment may come at the toll plaza.
“I know people don’t like paying tolls, but they’d rather pay tolls and have roads to drive on than not have roads to drive on at all,” Emmett said.
Gordon Quan, a Democrat, said that as county judge he would promote greater foreign investment in Houston and Harris County through a visa program run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The program awards green cards, which confer lawful permanent residency, to immigrants who invest $1 million in a business that creates jobs for at least 10 U.S. workers. He is working on it in private practice but said he could continue working as the county judge to make the entire county a zone where indirect as well as direct jobs created would count, thereby making it a more attractive location for investors.
“It’s not green cards for sale. It’s creating jobs in America for American workers,” Quan said. “It’s economic input, the infusion of capital to create more jobs here.” The businesses and workers will pay property taxes that will help fund county government services, he said.