Progressive DA Candidate: José Garza, Travis County, Texas

3 mins read

If you’ve voted before, you won’t be surprised to see a number of slates empty or with only one candidate running for sheriff, public attorney, or judicial roles, which has helped fuel our mass incarceration problem. Fortunately, strong progressive candidates are running to serve in these roles this fall. The Progressive Candidate Series focuses on progressive district attorneys, judges, and sheriffs. This November, the majority of states will hold elections for candidates to fill these offices. For an interactive list of law enforcement and judges up for election this year, see the following:

We can transform our criminal justice system here in Travis County. In fact, we must.”

José Garza 

José Garza is running for an open district attorney position against Republican Martin Harry. Garza, a former federal public defender, is committed to ensuring people are treated fairly no matter their skin color, identity, abilities, or residency status. He has worked on labor issues and confronted lawsuits and assaults by Republican and conservative actors.

Currently, Garza serves as the Executive Director of Workers Defense Project. In that position, he’s helped end arrests for minor offenses which has slowed the arrest-to-deportation pipeline. He’s advocated for the creation of a public defender’s office that would provide community oversight. And he’s worked to ensure that people experiencing violence don’t lose their jobs when they need medical care. 

As DA, Garza plans to increase training in advocacy for victims of violence. His department will pursue restorative justice that brings some closure for victims and offers a chance for perpetrators to take accountability. He has committed to holding all bad actors accountable, no matter their position, including police and corporations. Like other progressive district attorneys, he plans to end cash bail and promises that children will be treated as such and not driven into the adult justice system. 

Travis County is home to numerous immigrant families, many who have been unfairly treated during justice system encounters, whether as victims, witnesses, or perpetrators. These injustices have led to a decay in community trust. To remedy this, Garza will create a task force made up of people impacted by our broken immigration system as well as policy experts. Together, they will work to heal the community rift and create protections and equal treatment for those Garza calls “some of our most forgotten communities.” 

For more on the incredible power DAs can have in reforming our justice system, see “Prosecutors in the United States” from Wesley Bell.

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