Oct 25, 2022 - News

Q&A with Harris County judge candidate Alexandra Mealer

Republican Harris County judge candidate Alexandra Mealer poses with downtown Houston in the background

Alexandra Mealer does not think the county is doing many things well right now. Photo courtesy of the Alexandra Mealer campaign

Republican Harris County judge candidate Alexandra Mealer is an Army veteran, mother and political newcomer.

  • She's challenging Democratic incumbent Lina Hidalgo to become the chief executive over county government and head of the Commissioners Court.

Axios interviewed Mealer about her plans, if elected. The interview was condensed for space. Questions were not provided ahead of time.

  • Axios has also reached out to Hidalgo's campaign for an interview.

How will you handle disagreements with Democrats on the Commissioners Court?

"It used to be the county judge that could really broker the deal, because you are countywide. You have an interest for the whole county. Part of the chaos [over the budget and tax rate] is the fact that it's been the commissioners trying to lead this back and forth. You've had no steady hand moderating."
"Part of it is the culmination of a court for three years 10 months [that] has only voted along party lines. That is unprecedented. We've never had that before. Every vote is 3-2."
"In something as difficult as a budget, it's not exactly when you start building a relationship. It's all reflective of the fact that you've had a hostile, hyper-partisanship leadership for so many years."

Are there any other ways to reduce crime outside of adding more law enforcement officers?

"The whole goal is reducing recidivism. Everyone knows that's a key piece of it. At this point, we're in triage mode. That's how I would describe it."
"There is no [practice] of serving warrants in Harris County. The only way to get served a warrant is through a traffic stop. We're so undermanned and understaffed that there are 700 warrants for murder that we don't have resources to go and make sure they get served with a warrant to arrest these people."
Fact-check: The Harris County Sheriff's Office does have multiple tactical teams dedicated to serving "high-profile, aggravated type" warrants, including murder.

Do you support the completion of the embattled North Houston Highway Improvement Project?

"Segment 3 is completely drawn out and mapped out. There were numerous community meetings. That's one where I can say, absolutely, let's go. I know what it looks like."
"I'm speaking specifically to Segment 3, the loop around downtown. It's not actually an expansion of lanes. When you get up to Beltway 8, you are truly widening a lot. That's a whole different set of arguments. Segment 3, I really don't understand the opposition to that."

What's your approach to pollution control?

"I very much want to make sure pollution control has the resources it needs, because they oversee that remediation [of superfund sites] to make sure things are done. When permits come in, they're the ones who review them to make sure that these are things we are supportive of."
"I just don't know why we added another department called sustainability. I've seen so many departments, six new departments added, 25 in total department heads subbed out during Lina [Hidalgo]'s tenure. It seems to me like growth for the growth of government's sake versus where can I see the operational lens, the improvement."

What is going right in the county that you'd like to continue?

"I think they did a good job with adding air monitors, doing the program for people to be able to expunge their misdemeanor record, I support that. A lot of the things I don't agree with. We deny 82% of [law enforcement] budget requests during an unprecedented crime wave, but there's over $11 million for free legal funding for illegal immigrants. Everybody wants immigration services, but right now we have a public safety crisis."
"Fundamentally, I think the county used to operate very well. It's why I'm running. It's very hard to see a lot of successes out of this county, to be frank."

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Houston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Houston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Houston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more