Travis County, Texas
José Garza was elected Travis County District Attorney on November 3, 2020.
As a former federal public defender, immigrant rights activist, and leader of the systemic change organization, Workers Defense Project, José Garza has a unique view into how our broken criminal justice system works and how it impacts our communities. He believes we can fix it together.
José attended law school at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and worked for Judge Richard W. Roberts in federal district court for the District of Columbia. He returned to Texas to work on the border as an assistant public defender in the first multi-county public defender’s office in Texas at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. Subsequently, José served as an assistant federal public defender in the Western District of Texas, where he represented people accused of misdemeanor and felony crimes. In those experiences, he saw firsthand how our system weighs most heavily on people of color, working people and poor people, and immigrant families.
José later returned to Washington, D.C., as Deputy General Counsel for the House Committee on Education and Labor. He went on to work as Special Counsel to the National Labor Relations Board where he represented the agency against legal attacks brought by a Republican Congress. He eventually served Secretary Tom Perez as a senior policy official at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he worked to ensure that working people and people of color were able to find safety and stability in good jobs.
José brings to the office of the District Attorney extensive experience building power with communities of color, working families, and immigrant communities across Texas. During his tenure as the Executive Director of Workers Defense Project, the organization won significant criminal justice reform in Travis County, won paid sick leave policies in Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas, and advocated for the creation of a Public Defender Office alongside community allies in Travis County.