It is a blessing to see the work of people in the community who truly care about advancing others even before themselves. In San Antonio, Texas – in Bexar County, we have witnessed a very young man ascend into the spotlight of leadership. Bee Michele Events, CEO called me and said, “Chris, do you realize, does San Antonio realize that we have the next Barack Obama right here?” I thought about her question…
The person who Bee Michele Events was talking about is Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert Jr. He is the youngest county commissioner in the over 170-year history of Bexar County, Texas. Tommy is a major history maker. Commissioner Calvert in three years has been a moving and driving force within our community, taking on very tough leadership issues and making decisions as a poised and seasoned veteran.
I met Tommy Calvert when I arrived in San Antonio almost a decade ago. I saw him in action and we served together as we formed the Fair Contractor Coalition, a registered not for profit organization in 2011. As we meticulously worked through the request for data and information to see how fair public agencies were contracting with minority owned businesses, I was amazed at the deep level of commitment and outstanding problem solving this young man brought to the table. As he wrote, and had meetings with the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, the school districts, and shaped the Fair Contractor Coalition’s Report Card, I knew that he was chosen to lead. Tommy never let up a day, holding meetings, organizing and being available to hear the voice of the minority business owner. Skillfully, he kept political leaders like then Mayor Julian Castro apprised of what he wanted to get accomplished – not to alienate a friend, but to show more work and progress needed to be done. The City of San Antonio’s City Council approved on January 17, 2013 the 5 Year Diversity Action Plan within a city ordinance – because of this man’s relentless contributions. I was inspired and stayed the course to Chair the City of San Antonio’s subcommittee of the Small Business Advocacy Committee to ensure the plan was followed. In 2017, the City of San Antonio contracts with African American construction firms partnering with millions of dollars – as opposed to zero dollars in 2011. As you can see, leadership does pay off when there is focus.
Often, young leaders are told to be patient and to get in line with the older generation. Tommy always forged ahead, not listening to haters, naysayers, and those who want to cause delay but he continued to plan, prepare and execute for he believed was right. Tommy Calvert’s opportunity to lead as an elected public servant in 2013 when he won the election to serve as precinct 4 Bexar County Commissioner. His path to the elected position included tough positions as aide to the San Antonio City Council, positions in the Texas House of Representatives, as well as the United States Congress where he served as director of special projects for the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
From election day, he has not looked back and set a blazing trail of excellence for all to recognize. His focus is to bring opportunity to previously neglected areas of our city that he grew up. His focus is to lift those who are often overlooked and marginalized. His speak is of action. He is a champion for those who have been incarcerated to give them a second chance to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is who we celebrate today.
I very much appreciate the open door to Commissioner Calvert. He is understanding to human rights to civil rights, and to small minority and women business owner rights. He loves our Veterans and those challenged with disability. As Tommy ran for County Commissioner, I remember the strong coalition of people whose skin was black, brown, white, and yellow. They stood with him. They got him elected. Calvert has built a multicultural coalition, some say an army.
Last week I wrote about the power of the Black Press and why the community should support Black owned newspapers. The humble beginnings of Tommy Calvert Jr. started with the Black Press. He worked with his father, TC Calvert, with this very publication to help bring the San Antonio Register, San Antonio Observer and the Publishing Company newspapers to the center stage of San Antonio.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about him leading the KROV community radio station he started with his father. As an entrepreneur, rooted in his public relations, he earned accolades as the “Best Radio Station for Music” twice in the San Antonio Current’s “Best of San Antonio Awards”
We are now featuring him as a salute to all that he does daily. The word of God says, Titus 2:7 “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness.” This is who Tommy Calvert Jr. has been to me since I arrived in San Antonio a decade ago.
We salute Tommy Calvert Jr., on his birthday and within my syndicated “Black America” column. My hope is the world picks up on this name #TommyCalvertJr, for I believe and predict this young leader will climb and reach even higher accomplishments. But I am reminded by the Commissioner, that he has a long way to go and to help the economic revitalization of the East Side of San Antonio. On his website, it is noted he has brought over $450 million dollars to Precinct 4’s infrastructure. With every speech, he brings a new accomplishment that helps his people know he is working.
Black America and America overall, we have another powerful leader that will stand by his word and deliver results for the people. Today I give honor to whom honor is due! Well done Tommy. Keep serving the people. Keep honoring God as your center of faith. Keep your family strong. This is my encouragement for our Bexar County leader who serves us all so well.
Happy B Day Commissioner Tommy Calvert Jr!
About CHRISTOPHER C. HERRING:
Current Chairman of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce; Chairman, City of San Antonio Diversity Action Plan Subcommittee; Mayor’s appointee to City of San Antonio Small Minority Business Advocacy Committee. His Twitter is Twitter.com/BlackAmerica