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Garnet F. Coleman represents Texas House District 147. Elected in 1991, Coleman has earned a reputation as a leader in the areas of healthcare, economic development, criminal justice, and education. He is currently the Chairman of the Texas House Committee on County Affairs and the senior ranking member of the Committee on Public Health. 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 healthcare 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.