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Fort Bend and Harris counties elect first Black county attorneys


Voters made history in Harris and Fort Bend County by electing the first Black county attorneys and the first Black sheriff in more than 100 years.

HOUSTON — It's an election night that will go down in the history books with record voter turnout in the Houston area. But this election is also making history for those that will be holding office come January.

Fort Bend County broke the glass ceiling by electing the first African-American female county attorney, Bridgette Smith-Lawson. Fort Bend County voters also elected the first Black sheriff in more than 100 years, Eric Fagan.

Michael Adams, professor of political science at Texas Southern University, believes this has to do with the people that have moved to the area.

"It’s amazing to see the change in demographic and where you have Blacks and people of color in general," Adams said. "Fort Bend County could be defined as a blue county."

But they’re not the only ones making history. Harris County voters also elected the first Black county attorney, Christian D. Menefee.

"Increase diversity not just of race here in Harris County, but also thought that would lead people to elect African-American candidates here in Fort Bend County," Menefee said. "It's just an incredibly powerful thing."

Adams said it’s a step in the right direction, given the history of Black voter suppression in both counties after the Reconstruction Era. Adams hopes their leadership inspires other minorities to run for office and ultimately brings more diversity to local government.

"You want people competent and qualified to run for office. And we just happen to get people who are breaking down barriers that are long overdue," Adams said.