History in the courtroom: Meet the youngest Harris County Attorney ever

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Breaking barriers: Meet the youngest Harris Co. Attorney ever
Christian Menefee is the youngest person to ever be elected as Harris County Attorney, and the first African American to hold the position.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Harris County has a new County Attorney, and he's not only the youngest, but he's the first Black person elected to the position. "There weren't many people in my life, whether it be at school or professionally who told me, 'You're good enough, you're qualified enough, you can do this,'" Christian Menefee explained, saying he wants to set an example for others.

As a kid, Menefee moved around a lot, but he finally found a home at Alief Hastings High School. "I ended up getting injured in high school, so I stopped playing football and I started doing speech and debate," Menefee said. "I very much thought that the job of being a lawyer is just arguing with people. Menefee was the first in his family to go to college. And after law school, he worked as a litigator at two big firms. "It was the 2016 election, honestly, the presidential election, that made me decide I had to do more. This office is at the perfect intersection of law and policy making," he explained. "I had two parents who served in the armed forces and they very much instilled in us that you can't just talk about the democracy you want, you can't talk about the government, you need to be involved in the process and you need to advocate for it."

The County Attorney is basically an in-house civil law firm for the county. That means representing the county when it's sued, giving legal advice to commissioners, and suing businesses that harm the county. "This office traditionally had been filled by folks who look a certain way, who think a certain way," he explained. "Being the youngest and the first African American to be elected to this position was important for me, but I was more concerned with what it meant for black and brown kids across Harris County."

Speaking of kids....

"I was sworn into this position January 1st at 9 am and my wife was there with me at the courtroom," he said. "Twelve hours later, we found out that she was pregnant."