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Democrat José Garza wins election to become Travis County’s next district attorney

Garza defeated Republican lawyer Martin Harry to claim a seat currently held by former DA Margaret Moore.

AUSTIN, Texas — Local Democrat José Garza has emerged victorious on Election Day to become the next Travis County District Attorney, defeating opponent Martin Harry.

Garza won 70% of the vote against Harry.

Garza inherits a seat currently held by fellow Democrat Margaret Moore, whose term was often criticized as multiple lawsuits were filed by survivors against her office over the way it handled sexual assault cases. Moore conceded to Garza after the July election.

Garza is a former federal public defender and immigrant rights activist who attended law school at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he worked for Judge Richard W. Roberts in federal district court for the District of Columbia. He eventually returned to Texas to work on the border as an assistant public defender at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. Garza has also served as an assistant federal public defender in the Western District of Texas.

In 2010, Garza headed back to D.C. to serve as the deputy general counsel for the House Committee on Education and Labor. Then, he went on to work for the National Labor Relations Board as special counsel. He later found himself working for Secretary Tom Perez as senior policy official at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Garza currently serves as an executive director for the Workers Defense Project, which has worked for criminal justice reform in Travis County, paid sick leave policies and advocated for the creation of a public defender office.

He now lives in Austin with his wife, Kate, and two young children.

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Harry earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and a Juris Doctor degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois. In law school, he also served as an articles editor for the SIU Law Journal.

Now a licensed Texas attorney, Harry has been representing clients in private practice with claims for benefits before state and federal agencies for the past two decades. Before starting his own law firm, Harry served as a staff attorney for the Social Security Administration and as a judge advocate in the U.S. Navy.

After completing his initial three-year commitment of active duty, he volunteered to serve two more overseas. He was then assigned as a staff judge advocate for the U.S. Naval Base in Sasebo, Japan.

Additionally, Harry volunteered to serve at the legislative liaison for the Texas Convention of States Project, a nonprofit that promotes a constitutional process to protect individual liberties and limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, between 2013 and 2017.