Garnet F. Coleman has served the people of District 147 in the Texas House of Representatives since 1991. Throughout his years of service, Representative Coleman has earned a reputation as a leader in the areas of health care, economic development, criminal justice, 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 served as a member of the House Select Committee for Opioid and Substance Abuse during the 85th Legislative Session and is currently serving on the House Select Committee on Health Care Costs.

For many years Representative Coleman has been deeply committed to expanding access to health care for all Texans. To further this goal he served 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.

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 400,000 children from working families. Representative Coleman also passed the Sandra Bland Act which included de-escalation training for officers, improving the process to make a complaint or compliment of an officer, jail diversion, jail safety, improved data collection, and improvements to mental healthcare.

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. He has also been awarded the American Psychiatric Association Jacob R. Javits Public Service 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.

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 joint-authored legislation during the 2017 legislative session which will help increase the number of affordable housing units in communities of color.

Outside of his legislative work, Representative Coleman remains active and involved in the Houston community. He serves on the advisory board of the Houston Children’s Museum 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.

Raised in Houston, Representative Coleman attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and graduated from the University of St. Thomas cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in 1990. 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.

National Honors:

  • Progressive States Network Outstanding Board Leadership Award, 2011
  • Human Rights Campaign John Walzel Political Equality Award, 2007
  • Eli Lilly Reintegration Award, 2005
  • National HIV/AIDS Partnership Red Ribbon 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
  • Hispanic Journal Ten Best Legislators List, 2001
  • Center for Policy Alternatives, Arthur Flemming Award, 2001
  • Families USA Foundation Consumer Advocate Award, 2000
  • National Black Caucus of State Legislators Legislator of the Year, 2000
  • American Psychiatric Association Jacob R. Javits Public Service Award, 1997
  • National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Distinguished Service Award, 1997

State Honors:

  • Texas Association of Community Schools Most Valuable Legislator of the Texas 85th Legislative Session, 2017
  • Texas Psychological Association, Outstanding Legislative Contribution, 2017
  • Meadows Mental Health Institute Legislative Champion, 2017
  • The Montrose Center Community Vision Award, 2017
  • Texas School Nurses Association Leadership Recognition, 2017
  • Houston Chronicle Winner of the 85th Session Award, 2017
  • Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day Star Award, 2017
  • Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Justice Champion Award, 2017
  • Meadows Mental Health Foundation’s Okay to Say Leadership Award, 2016
  • Texas Press Association Champion of Transparency Award, 2016
  • El Dorado Society Club Outstanding Service Achievement Award, 2016
  • Texas Occupational Therapy Association Legislator of the Year, 2015
  • Texas Association of Counties Champion of County Government Award, 2011
  • Texas Suicide Prevention Council Public Policy Leadership Award, 2015 and 2011
  • Champion of County Government, 2013 and 2011
  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Women’s Health Champion Award, 2012
  • Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas Best in House, 2011 and 2009
  • Texas Hospital Association Advocacy Tribute Award, 2011, 2009, 2007 and 1999
  • Center for Public Policy Priorities Hobby Visionary Award, 2010
  • Texas Medical Association Friend of Medicine Award, 2010
  • Capitol Inside Honorable Mention in Best of the Legislature, 2009
  • Cenikor Annual Elected Official Award, 2009
  • The Gathering Place’s Founder’s Award, 2009
  • Harris County Medical Society Patient Care Champion Award, 2009
  • Mental Health America of Greater Houston Legislative Award, 2009
  • Texas Academy of Family Physicians Patient Advocacy Award, 2009 and 1999
  • Texas Association of Counties Champion of County Government Award, 2009
  • Texas Observer named People’s Friend, 2009
  • Texas State Nurses Organization President’s Award, 2008
  • Children at Risk Legislator of the Year for Children, 2007
  • Texas Monthly Ten Best Legislators List, Honorable Mention, 2007, 1999 and 1997
  • Texas Progressive Alliance Legislator of the Year, 2007
  • Texas Southern University Jordan Leland School of Public Affairs George “Mickey” Leland Community Leadership Award, 2007
  • Texas State Employees Unions and the Working People of Texas for Human Services Award, 2007
  • Texas Democratic Women Oscar Mauzy Humanitarian Award, 2006
  • American Cancer Society Texas Advocacy Award, 2005, 2001
  • National Alliance for the Mentally Ill – Texas Chapter Legislator of the Year, 2005
  • Texas Southern University Mickey Leland Lifetime Achievement Award, 2005
  • Texas Public Health Association Outstanding Legislator Award, 2004
  • The Houston Association of Black Psychologist Legislator of the Year, 2002
  • Trees for Houston Arbor Day Award, 2002
  • Children At Risk Voice for Children Award, 2001
  • Coalition of Texans with Disabilities Public Servant of the Year, 2001
  • Houston Advocates for Mental Health in Children Child Builders Building Blocks Award, 2001
  • Mental Health Association of Greater Houston Legislator of the Year, 2001
  • Texas Association of Community Health Centers Health Care Champion, 2001
  • Texas Association on Mental Retardation (TAMR) Horizon Award, 2001 and 1998
  • Texas Monthly Ten Best Legislators List, 2001 and 1995
  • Texas Recreation and Park Society Distinguished Legislator Award, 2001
  • Texas Southern University Appreciation Award, 2001
  • Women Legislators’ Lobby Women’s Health Leader, 2001
  • Houston Community College Trailblazer Award, 2000
  • Mental Health Association in Texas Ring of Honor Inductee, 2000
  • Texas Council of Community MHMR Centers Inc. and Texas Community Services Coalition Legislator of the Year, 2000
  • Texas Family Planning Association Leadership Award, 2000
  • Texas Freedom Network Hero for Children, 2000
  • Texas Human Rights Foundation Policy Advocate, 2000
  • Texas Physical Therapy Association Legislator of the Year, 2000
  • Texas Recreation & Parks Society Legislator of the Year, 2000
  • Texas Southern University Presidential Award, 2000
  • VA Medical Center Appreciation Award, 2000
  • Mental Health Association in Texas Legislator of the Year, 1999
  • Texas Academy of Family Physicians Patient Advocacy Award, 1999
  • Texas Association of Community Health Centers State Health Care Champion Award, 1999
  • Texas Association of Community Health Centers Legislator of the Year, 1999
  • Texas Association for Home Care People’s Choice Award, 1999
  • Texas Hospital Association Hospital Advocacy Tribute Award, 1999
  • Texas Medicine Best Legislators Award, 1999
  • Texas Mental Health Association Legislator of the Year, 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
  • Planned Parenthood of Houston & Southeast Texas Legislative Award, 1997
  • Texas Alliance for the Mentally Ill Legislator of the Year, 1997 and 1995
  • Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Legislator of the Year, 1997
  • Texas Committee to Prevent Child Abuse Legislator of the Year, 1997
  • Texas Network of Youth Services Merit Award, 1997
  • Texas Rehab Action Network Legislator of the Year, 1997
  • Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation Outstanding Service Award, 1996
  • University of St. Thomas Outstanding Young Alumni Leadership Award, 1996
  • Prairie View A&M University Distinguished Public Service Award, 1995 and 1993
  • Texas Association for the Education of Young Children Elected Official of the Year, 1995
  • Texas Mental Health Consumers Role Model of the Year, 1995
  • Texas Observer Top Legislators, 1995