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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Rep. Garnet Coleman


About this Writer

Garnet F. Coleman has served the people of District 147 in the Texas House of Representatives continuously since 1991. Throughout his years of service, Rep. Coleman has earned a reputation as a diligent leader in the areas of health care, economic development and education.

Representative Coleman's legislative efforts have been recognized in numerous ways including being named to the prestigious Texas Monthly Ten Best Legislators List on two occasions. Most recently he received the 2005 Reintegration Award presented by Eli Lilly, a national award given in acknowledgment of efforts to increase services and decrease the stigma associated with mental illness. Representative Coleman has also been recognized by the Congressional Black Caucus as he was named Outstanding Black Caucus Chair for 2004. Citing his advocacy for the voting rights of people of color Rep. Coleman was selected for the honor out of 32 state black caucus chairs across the country.

Representative Coleman has served as the Chair of the Legislative Study Group, a non-partisan house caucus dedicated to the development of sound public policy on behalf of all Texas families, since 2003 when he was elected to the position by more than 40 of his colleagues. In addition, Rep. Coleman has the honor of being the immediate-past chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. As Chairman, Rep. Coleman coordinated efforts among members of the Caucus to help preserve the Top Ten Percent Rule, which assists historically-underrepresented students in gaining admission to Texas' top institutions of higher learning.

As a member of the House Committee on Public Health and the House Committee on County Affairs, Representative Coleman is able to focus on many of the most important issues facing Texas today. Some of his most significant legislative accomplishments include joint authoring legislation that simplified access to children's Medicaid for more than 600,000 children in Texas who were eligible for the program but were not enrolled because of bureaucratic barriers. He also helped secure an increase of $161.5 million for at-risk child care services and joint authored legislation that created the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which makes low-cost health insurance available to more than 400,00 children in working families.

Striving to increase economic development in Texas, Rep. Coleman has been instrumental in passing legislation fostering urban redevelopment. He authored and passed legislation that created the Greater Southeast Management District, the Downtown Management District and the Fourth Ward and East Montrose Improvement Districts. Additionally, he passed legislation creating Houston's convention center hotel and expanding the convention center itself. Rep. Coleman also authored legislation allowing for the creation of a commercial and industrial development zone in Harris County, which is designed to promote economic development along the transportation corridors that link Houston-area transportation nodes.

Outside his legislative work, Rep. Coleman remains active and involved in the Houston community. He serves on the boards of the Mid-Town Redevelopment Authority, the National Mental Health Association, and the Ensemble Theater. In 1991, Rep. Coleman founded S.M.A.R.T. Kids, a youth development program that provides much-needed tutoring for inner-city students. He also serves as president and CEO of Apartments for America, Inc., a non-profit affordable housing corporation.

Raised in Houston, Representative Coleman attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. and in 1990 graduated from the University of St. Thomas cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts. He also completed the prestigious Harvard University Senior Executive Program for State and Local Government.

Representative Coleman and his wife, Angelique, reside in Houston's University Oaks neighborhood. They have two children, Austin and Evan.


Member for
17 years 14 weeks