Carol Alvarado is a liberal Democrat, but serving in the GOP-dominated Texas House she’s learned to compromise. She picks her priorities carefully and comes as close as
she can to achieving them, largely through behind-the-scenes negotiation. For example, Alvarado convinced the state health commissioner to step up coverage for women in the wake of Planned Parenthood closures across the state. She also was the House sponsor of a 2015 law modernizing grand jury selection, abolishing the state’s notorious “pick-a-pal” method, under which jurors were selected from a list put together by a judge’s acquaintance.
Alvarado got her start in politics early, knocking on doors at age 12 when her godfather ran for the Houston City Council. He didn’t win, but Alvarado later went on to serve on the council after a stint as a mayoral aide.
She lost her 2013 bid for the state Senate, her opponent accusing her of being too cozy with Republicans. Alvarado may not be a flamethrower, but she’s effective at getting things done against long odds. She’s learned to step outside her comfort zone in order to build consensus. “Sometimes you have to inch your way to the results you want and see it as progress,” she says.