Garnet F. Coleman has served the people of District 147 in the Texas House of Representatives continuously since 1991. Throughout his years of service, Representative Coleman has earned a reputation as a diligent leader in the areas of health care, economic development and education. He is currently the Senior ranking member of the Public Health Committee as well as the Chairman of the County Affairs Committee. Representative Coleman also serves as a member of the Select Committee on Federal Economic Stabilization Funding, which is charged with ensuring that the state maximize its share of funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
For many years Representative Coleman has been deeply committed to expanding access to health care for all Texans. To further this goal he serves as a member of President Obama’s State Legislators for Health Reform, which is a working group of 32 state legislators dedicated to advancing the need for health reform in their communities. Representative Coleman also currently serves a Co-Chair of the Progressive States Network, an organization that promotes and advances key progressive economic and social policies. Additionally, he is one the Board of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee where he advocates for the interest of Democratic state legislators.
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) in Texas, which makes low-cost health insurance available to more than 400,00 children from working families.
Representative Coleman’s legislative efforts have been recognized in numerous ways. On two occasions he was named to the prestigious Texas Monthly Ten Best Legislators List, and in 2005 he received the Eli Lilly Reintegration Award for his efforts to increase services and decrease the stigma associated with mental illness. Most recently, he was awarded the Texas Academy of Family Physicians’ 2009 Patient Advocacy Award.
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, since 2003 when he was elected to the position by more than 40 of his colleagues. In addition, Representative Coleman has the honor of being a past chairman and current member of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. As Chairman, Representative 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.
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. Representative Coleman also authored legislation allowing 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, Representative 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, Representative 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.
- Texas Medical Association’s 2009 Friend of Medicine Award
- Harris County Medical Society’s Patient Care Champion Award
- Texas Academy of Family Physicians’ 2009 Patient Advocacy Award
- Texas Hospital Association’s 2009 Texas Hospital Advocacy Tribute Award
- Texas Association of Counties 2009 Champion of County Government Award
- Capitol Inside Honorable Mention in Best of the Legislature 2009
- Named 2009 People’s Friend by Texas Monthly
- Mental Health America of Greater Houston Legislative Award- June 2009
- Cenikor annual- Elected Official Award September 2009
- The Gathering Place 2009 Founder’s Award
- Texas State Nurses Organization President’s Award, 2008
- Children at Risk Legislator of the Year for Children, 2007
- Texas Southern University Jordan Leland School of Public Affairs George “Mickey” Leland Community Leadership Award, 2007 Texas Hospital Advocacy Tribute Award, 2007
- Texas State Employees Unions and the Working People of Texas For Human Services Award, 2007
- Texas Hospital Association Hospital Advocacy Tribute Award, 2007 and 1999
- Texas Progressive Alliance Legislator of the Year, 2007
- Texas Monthly Ten Best Legislators List, Honorable Mention, 2007, 1999 and 1997
- Texas Democratic Women Oscar Mauzy Humanitarian Award, 2006
- National Alliance for the Mentally Ill – Texas Legislator of the Year, 2005
- Texas Monthly Ten Best Legislators List, 2001 and 1995
- Texas Association of Community Health Centers Health Care Champion, 2001
- Coalition of Texans with Disabilities Public Servant of the Year, 2001
- Children At Risk Voice for Children Award, 2001
- Women Legislators’ Lobby Women’s Health Leader, 2001
- Houston Community College Trailblazer Award, 2000
- Texas Physical Therapy Association Legislator of the Year, 2000
- Mental Health Association in Texas Ring of Honor Inductee, 2000
- Texas Recreation & Parks Society Legislator of the Year, 2000
- Texas Family Planning Association Leadership Award, 2000
- Texas Human Rights Foundation Policy Advocate, 2000
- Mental Health Association of Greater Houston Legislator of the Year, 2000
- Texas Freedom Network Hero for Children, 2000
- Texas Association for Home Care People’s Choice Award, 1999
- Texas Academy of Family Physicians Patient Advocacy Award, 1999
- Texas Mental Health Association Legislator of the Year, 1999
- Texas Hospital Association Hospital Advocacy Tribute Award, 1999
- Texas Association of Community Health Centers Legislator of the Year, 1999
- Texas Medicine Best Legislators Award, 1999
- Texas Monthly Ten Best Legislators List, Honorable Mention, 1999 and 1997
- AIDS Action Leadership Award, 1998
- Texas Council of Child Welfare Boards Legislator of the Year, 1998
- Texas School Health Association John P. McGovern Award, 1998
- Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Legislator of the Year, 1997
- Texas Committee to Prevent Child Abuse Legislator of the Year, 1997
- Texas Alliance for the Mentally Ill Legislator of the Year, 1997 and 1995
- Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation Outstanding Service Award, 1996
- University of St. Thomas Outstanding Young Alumni Leadership Award, 1996
- Texas Observer Top Legislators, 1995
- Texas Association for the Education of Young Children Elected Official of the Year, 1995
- Prairie View A&M University Distinguished Public Service Award, 1993
- National HIV/AIDS Partnership Red Ribbon Award, 2005
- Eli Lilly Reintegration Award, 2005
- Outstanding Black Caucus Chair, 2004
- Center for Voting and Democracy/ Common Cause Hero of Democracy Award, 2003
- Governing Magazine, Public Officials of the Year List, 2001
- Families USA Foundation Consumer Advocate Award, 2000
- National Black Caucus of State Legislators Legislator of the Year, 2000
- National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Distinguished Service Award, 1997
- American Psychiatric Association Jacob R. Javits Public Service Award, 1997
- Hispanic Journal Ten Best Legislators List, 2001
- Flemming Fellowship, 1995