Indian-American Sworn In As Fort Bend County Judge In Texas

HOUSTON: Indian-American KP George sworn in as the Fort Bend County Judge on January 1, becoming the first person from the community to hold the office of one of America’s most diverse counties.

Mr George, 53, a Democrat and Fort Bend Independent School District Board trustee, defeated Republican Judge Robert Hebert in November polls. In the US, county judges’ duties vary from state to state. Depending upon the size of the county, they perform a wide range of judicial and administrative duties.

The Fort Bend County has a sizeable population of Indian-Americans. According to the latest census, Fort Bend is now the most diverse county in Texas, and among the most diverse in the country with 35 per cent Anglos, 24 per cent Hispanics, 21 per cent Asians and others; and 20 per cent African-Americans. KP George, who hails from Kerala’s Kakkodu city, said his father, a truck driver, earned only a couple of US dollars a day. He studied using a kerosene lamp.

He said that community engagement will be the top priority for his administration.

“I will continue spreading the word of county services and involving all people into the process. It is a historic moment for me as well as for the county. “We will continue to have an open-door policy for the most diverse county which represents people who speak over 100 languages. We are here to represent each one of them and ensure a better place for residents and children of this county,” Mr George said. While in India, George grew up speaking Malayalam and lived in a straw-thatch hut. When he was 15, his family moved to a bigger city where he attended college. After his graduation, he got a job in Mumbai, where for the first time he started speaking English. He worked in the Middle East before moving to New York in 1993 to work for a financial firm. Later, he moved to Texas and has been living in the Fort Bend county ever since along with his family.

“I strongly believe that success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It is what you do for others,” Mr George said. He first ran for office in 2010, hoping to be elected as the county treasurer. “People asked me in Richmond and Rosenberg, ‘Why are you running?’ It’s not easy for a person like me, brown in color, with no political power, no name recognition. I’d say, ‘Because I can. I’m not a felon. I’m a citizen. Thank you, USA! I hold your values close to my heart.

“I honestly believe this is the time for me to do public service rather than complain. I am taking responsibility to get involved and work for the US, the country that has given me everything I’ve dreamed of,” Mr George added.

KP George Selects Fort Bend County Fire Marshal as New Emergency Management Coordinator

HOUSTON: Fort Bend County Judge, KP George announced that the Fort Bend County Fire Marshal Mark Flathouse will be the Interim Emergency Management Coordinator at the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) starting on January 2. Judge George said, “Emergency Management is a top responsibility in which we must constantly strive to innovate and improve. Fire Marshal Flathouse will work to prepare a long-term, forward-thinking vision that strives to improve our communication with the public, coordinate better with partner entities, and build community confidence in an effective emergency management operation.”

With this change, Interim Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Flathouse will begin conducting an analysis to comprehensively evaluate the current situation and map the strategic outlook of the department within the first 100 days of the New Administration. Mark Flathouse has been Fire Marshal of Fort Bend County since 2013. Fire Marshal Flathouse has over twenty years of experience in public service: eight years in the United States Coast Guard with a focus on search and rescue coordination and over twelve years as a Firefighter/ Peace Officer and EMT. His last assignment prior to Fort Bend was in the Victoria Fire Department as the Assistant Fire Marshal. Fire Marshal Flathouse holds a Master of Criminal Justice Management and Leadership from Sam Houston State University, a Bachelor of Emergency Management Administration graduating Cum Laude from West Texas A&M, and an Associate of Fire Protection Technology from Austin Community College. He currently holds Master Fire Inspector, Fire Investigator, and Arson Investigator certifications from the State of Texas; Master Peace Officer TCLOSE certification; Hazmat incident Command and maintains all NIMS level training.

“I have been deeply appreciative of Jeff Braun’s county government service dating back to 2003. I know that Fire Marshal Mark Flathouse will be an exceptional interim coordinator and Fort Bend County leader moving the department forward to lead the region in Emergency Preparedness and Management,” said Judge George.