Elected in November of 2006, Harris County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez, the first immigrant to be chosen county-wide by the voters for a non-judicial office, oversees Harris County’s multiple bank accounts, pays the county’s expenses and is an independent set of eyes in overseeing spending of county taxpayer dollars.
Sanchez came to Houston in 1962 when his father was hired by former Harris County Judge Roy Hofheinz to be one of two Spanish announcers for the Colt 45s Baseball Club and then the Houston Astros. Sanchez grew up in southwest Houston and graduated from Bellaire High School before joining the U.S. Air Force in 1976. After his tour he enlisted in the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group of the Texas Air National Guard at the then-named Ellington Field.
He graduated cum laude from the University of Houston with a degree in political science and embarked on a career as a public servant, first as a three-term Houston City Council member and then as Harris County Treasurer. Orlando was named the University of Houston’s College of Social Sciences Distinguished Alumnus. Orlando also sits on the Harris County Bail Bonds Board, is a member of the Board of Directors of Capital Bank, a life member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the 100 Club of Houston and is a former advisory member of the University of Houston Law School Foundation and current advisory member of Volunteer Interfaith Caregivers-Southwest (VIC-SW), an organization that provides free one-on-one assistance to the frail and elderly in southwest Houston through a network of volunteers who provide services. In addition, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and British–American Fellow.
In 1995 Orlando was elected to serve as a member of the Houston City Council. He was the first Latino immigrant elected to a city-wide position in Houston. He served three terms and helped his colleagues pass the first property tax cut in decades. Orlando also chaired the city’s International Trade Committee, the Legislative Affairs Committee and chaired the Cellular Tower Working Committee.
He has served on the Texas Attorney General’s Municipal Advisory Committee and was appointed to the U.S. Senate Task Force on Hispanic Affairs.
Orlando has one daughter, Aubrie, who graduated from Boston University in 2014.