Criminal Justice reform advocates landed two big election victories on Tuesday (November 3) night.
José Garza won his district attorney race in Travis County, Texas. Meanwhile, Monique Worrell won her contest for Orange-Osceola state attorney in Florida.
These wins are a rebuke to President Donald Trump who ran a campaign focused on a law-and-order, in the wake of massive protests against police brutality against unarmed Black people.
“Garza and Worrell were elected because their messaging around public health, public safety and the fact that we cannot prosecute and incarcerate our way out of society’s problems resonated with voters,” Tiffany Cabán, a progressive 2019 district attorney candidate in New York City, told The Appeal.
Garza is a former public defender. During his campaign, he vowed to reduce prosecution on drug possession and sales for under one gram. These types of cases contributed to the disproportionate prosecution of Black suspects and their mass incarceration.
Worrell, who participated in Black Lives Matter protests in Orlando in June, is a former defense attorney. She will replace Aramis Ayala, the departing prosecutor who did not seek re-election.
After her 2016 election win, Ayala, who is Black, announced a policy of never seeking the death penalty. The then GOP Gov. Rick Scott stripped Ayala of death penalty eligible case.
Worrell is expected to face an uphill battle to reform the criminal justice system with the Republican Party controlling Florida.