Calls for immigration reform, expanded Medicaid, infrastructure.
The state of Harris County is strong, so said Judge Ed Emmett during his annual address to business leaders on Monday.
Emmett says the county is thriving due to years of fiscal responsibility, something he plans to continue with Tuesday's vote on a $1.5 billion budget.
"It is a lean budget with clear goals," Emmett told the Greater Houston Partnership. "There are no gimmicks, no hidden crisis in the county budget."
The elephant in the room however, remains the Astrodome.
"The Astrodome frankly has shifted from a wonder of the world to a wonder what we should do with it," he said.
Emmett says whatever is decided, not everyone will be happy.
There are some future concerns moving forward though. One of them, says Emmett, is concrete immigration reform.
"We need to bring these people out of the shadows," he said.
And Emmett says Texas needs to invest more in mental health care.
"The Harris County Jail should not be the largest mental health care facility in the state of Texas," he said. "It is shameful that Texas ranks 51st in spending for mental health, but beyond being shameful, it wastes taxpayer dollars."
Emmett even called on leaders in Austin to expand the state's Medicaid program under the president's Affordable Care Act.
"For us to say 'we don't want your $4 billion in exchange for the $50 million we put in' frankly is nonsensical, it doesn't make any financial sense at all," said Emmett.
The Judge also pushed continued support for new road and water projects to keep the local economy growing.
"All of these transportation improvements will allow the regional economy to continue booming," he said. "If they're not in place, we run the risk of stagnation."