Thank you for your interest in my campaign to become Harris County District Clerk! My family has a long history of public service, as do I. Starting with my early experiences as a member of the PTA at my daughter’s school right up through my time with the state-level Texas PTA as Executive Director.
This role of District Clerk is one few are familiar with. The Clerk is the record-keeper for Harris County Courts; she handles funds related to cases; she coordinate the jury panel selection process; and more. It’s a behind-the-scenes role that’s so important to a well run judicial system.
A successful District Clerk must have strong management, organizational, and financial skills, as well as a strong moral and work ethic. I will bring these traits, my experience with grassroots political organization, and my financial expertise as a CPA to the job.
I look forward to serving you!
I will restore integrity and sound fiscal management to an office badly in need of such qualities.
With one of the largest budgets of any department in the county, my financial expertise is needed!
I will work to increase diversity among prospective jurors.
Having juries that reflect the county’s demographics increases faith and trust in the justice system. Juries too often have no or few minorities, so they are not truly a jury of one’s peers. I will create effective outreach efforts to bring in more minorities to jury service.
I will support the bail overhaul system.
Too many non-violent offenders are held in jail awaiting trial because they lack the money to post bail. This means they lose their jobs and can’t support their families or contribute to the economy. Meanwhile, the taxpayer is responsible for housing and feeding them, as well as for their medical care. This is not good for the offender, their family, the economy, or the taxpayer, and it needs to stop.
I will make the county′s electronic court records system more efficient and easier to navigate.
I will work to increase the stability, consistency, and customer service response times.
After graduating from Louisiana State University with an accounting degree, Marilyn Burgess launched a successful career in business and became a certified public accountant (CPA).
But it was when she went to work for the Texas Parent Teachers Association (PTA) that she found her true calling: fighting and advocating for causes that better the lives of teachers, working- and middle-class families, single mothers, and children who need a helping hand.
“Maybe I always knew I had that in me. I was raised by parents who gave back to their community,” Burgess says. “But I knew when I was there fighting in Austin on behalf of children, parents, and teachers that I was meant to be an advocate for these groups – an advocate for those who sometimes have no voice and no influence.”
This late-blooming public advocate followed her true calling when she announced her candidacy for Harris County District Clerk earlier this year. Burgess, an agent of change, says change is needed in the District Clerk’s Office.
“When you have the current district clerk and his top administrators sitting around at their executive board meetings discussing how they want to set up ‘slush funds,’ I can guarantee that change is needed,” Burgess said. “Harris County can do better than this.”
She gained her belief in hard work, the value of education, and public service growing up in Spearsville, a northern Louisiana town of 350 people, about five miles from Arkansas.
“My dad owned a gas station and was a rural mail carrier,” Burgess says. “Once my youngest sister was old enough to go to school, my mom went to work full time as an RN at the local hospital. She was widely respected there, eventually rising to become Director of Nurses and later chair of the hospital board.”
Burgess’ parents were lifelong Democrats. Her father was active in community affairs, representing the Spearsville region in a role akin to county commissioner for twelve years.
When her father attended state Democratic conventions, the whole family went along. “I met two or three governors while growing up,” Burgess says.
After she retired from the hospital, Burgess’ mother served as mayor of Spearsville, catching the public service bug late in life, just as her daughter would.
“Growing up, my parents instilled in me certain core Democratic values. I believe in the important role that Social Security plays as a safety net for senior citizens during retirement,” she says. “I believe there is a need for society to provide good public schools so that education can act as the great equalizer for the less well-off.”
Doing the right thing wasn’t always easy in rural Louisiana. When Burgess was nine years old, her father, in his role akin to county commissioner, hired African-Americans for public jobs because they were the most qualified. The KKK answered by burning a cross on the lawn of the family home.
“I was taught to stand up and do what is right,” Burgess said. “That is what my dad did every day, and I’ve got to say my dad had guts.”
Burgess has always been connected to Texas – her mother grew up in the DFW metroplex, and the family went to visit her maternal grandparents in Lewisville often when she was growing up.
Although Burgess landed at a Dallas accounting firm after graduating from LSU, she later moved to Austin, where she was retained as the outside accounting firm for the Texas PTA. That relationship led to her being hired as a full-time staff member at the PTA and, eventually, as its Executive Director.
In that role, she worked with lawmakers and members of a coalition group to help pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Graduated Driver’s Licensing, which placed restrictions on newly licensed teen drivers such as initially not allowing them to drive with other teens in the vehicle.
She raised her daughter as a single mom and moved to Houston in 2002. As president of the North Houston-Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce, she helped gain a tax designation favorable for area businesses. And at the chamber, she learned intimately about the needs and concerns of small and large businesses.
For the past decade, she has served as Chief Financial Officer at The Fastener Connection, a family-owned fastener company in north Harris County.
“I have the executive experience needed to turn the District Clerk’s Office around,” Burgess said. “With me, Harris County will get seasoned, measured, smart leadership. Voters will have a choice and can opt for something better than an immature, absentee clerk who is more interested in furthering a political career than doing the job he was elected to do.”
Outside of work, Burgess, of Timbergrove, enjoys spending time with her daughter Lindsey and two grandchildren, Reagan (10) and Geoffrey (8), who live in Montgomery.
As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Marilyn will bring fiscal responsibility and exceptional organizational skills to the role of Harris County District Clerk, ensuring that citizens get the most out of every tax dollar they put into our court system. She understands a well managed court system is essential for the prosperity of Harris County.
Marilyn is also a Certified Association Executive who understands how boards and their staff are meant to work together. She has also served as President of the North Houston-Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce, working with elected officials and community members to improve the business community and its economy.
During her tenure as Executive Director of the Texas PTA, Marilyn lobbied before the Texas State Legislature and testified before the Texas Education Association on such issues as promoting a free, quality public education for all children by opposing school vouchers that would have redirected public funds to private institutions. She also worked on the passage of CHIPS legislation, promoted parent involvement in schools, and led workshops on school safety.
These experiences, combined with her financial background and her drive to improve the community, make her the right person for the job.
Certified Public Accountant
Marilyn has served as a CPA in the Houston area for many years.
Certified Association Executive
Marilyn is a Certified Association Executive who has also served as President of the North Houston-Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce
Texas Parent-Teacher Association
Marilyn spent twelve years working with the Texas PTA, with the last four as Executive Director