You will find Tiffany D. Thomas among residents, in the community and frequenting neighborhood businesses. The first term council member is a familiar face in the community. Her presence in the public she serves embodies who she is and guides her as a voice and representative for people.
The Houston Public Library is one of her favorite places. Prior to March 2020, you’d find Thomas spending time reading or writing in silent rooms.
“I am inspired by doing and saying what is right for everyone involved,” said Thomas. Representing a district has its challenges but the notes she receives on social media about her office’s work outweigh some of the difficulties.
Thomas is Chair of the Housing and Community Affairs Committee which oversees Solid Waste Management, Housing and Community Development, Homeless Initiatives, and Veteran’s Affairs. She is also a member of the following committees: Budget & Fiscal Affairs; Ethics, Elections and Council Government; Regulations & Neighborhood Affairs; and Public Safety & Homeland Security.
After completing her degree at Sam Houston State University, she moved back home to District F which includes Westchase District. In addition to her service on Council, she is a tenured development officer and is also the Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Community Development at Prairie View A&M University.
Answering a call for service
Thomas was asked to run for city council by residents within the District. “I have never pursued any leadership position without the support of the people I would ultimately represent,” said Thomas. “The District needed a different type of leadership, representation and voice. I have the best interests of the residents in mind because I live here too.”
Thomas serves the 250,000 residents of District F which boasts one of the most diverse populations in the city of Houston. Three months into her first term, the coronavirus hit. “Since March, in addition to my duties responding and resolving constituent issues and managing projects, I’m also navigating the impact of COVID-19,” said Thomas. “Serving as Chair of the Housing and Community Affairs Committee underscored the disparities in housing, food and wages many District F residents experience pre-COVID-19. Separate of COVID-19 – it has been incredibly challenging and rewarding.”
Thomas took the challenge head on. You will find her and her staff distributing food and personal protective equipment. “Sometimes people are shocked to learn I am their city councilmember because I am approachable and they often see me in the grocery store or in the neighborhood checking on a project,’’ said Thomas.
Westchase’s special place in District F
Thomas has special roots in Westchase District and has seen the area change, grow and thrive over the years. “When people realize Westchase is in District F, they immediately tell me that’s where they lived before they purchased their first home or their first job was in our area,” said Thomas. “I remember when much of Westchase was grass and open lots. Westchase has a special role in our diversity and what makes District F so unique – as one of the fastest growing areas for young professionals, small families and corporations, Westchase serves as our economic hub in West Houston. We have some of the most affordable market rate apartments in the city, some of the fastest growing brands and access to parks and green space. Westchase is an example of what communities can be when we collaborate with government, business and neighborhoods.”
Thomas relishes the role of being a problem solver. “We are working tirelessly to represent the entire district with integrity and compassion. When someone reaches out to our office and we are able to offer a resolution – nothing inspires me more to keep pushing – even when it is tough. Many people contact us for issues that are technically outside of my reach – job placement, personal disputes, resources for children – and we address their concerns anyway. We may not have completely fixed an issue but we get people a step closer to their goal.”
Looking beyond COVID-19
Thomas yearns for a return to normalcy in 2021 such as bringing back community settings where people can engage. In early December she hosted a 2020 Annual Meeting to offer residents an update on successes, projects and funding investments from this past year.
“It’s great to get all the feedback from residents. I’m also excited to see the progress of the Alief Community Center on Bellaire, more drainage projects and we are researching installing more street lighting in certain parts of the District for enhanced safety,” said Thomas. “Revitalization will definitely take a central focus next year.”