Mayor Sylvester Turner has appointed Gabriel “Gabe” M. Cazares, the National Federation of the Blind’s manager of government affairs, as director of the Mayor’s Office For People With Disabilities, which provides services and advocacy for Houston residents with disabilities.
Cazares, a Houston native, has worked for the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind since graduating in 2015 from Texas State University.
His predecessor in the Houston position was Maria Town, who served on the White House public engagement staff before coming to the City and now is president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities.
“I’m pleased that for the second consecutive time, I have attracted a dynamic national leader in this advocacy field to serve the people of Houston in a position known nationally for local public service,” Mayor Turner said. “I look forward to Gabe Cazares’ work and counsel as he returns to the city where he was born and raised.”
At the National Federation of the Blind, Cazares – a self-described “policy wonk” – was responsible for monitoring, drafting, and shepherding legislation and regulations that affect blind Americans through Congress and the federal rule-making process.
The Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce gave Cazares a “Rising Star” award in 2018 while he served as a mayoral appointee to the Baltimore City Hispanic Commission.
The mission of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities is to serve as the primary advocate for the full inclusion of citizens with disabilities. The office also serves as a liaison among the mayor, City Council, city departments and public and private entities on matters pertaining to people with disabilities in Houston. It has been a key partner in advancing many of Mayor Turner’s major community outreach programs and initiatives, including the Safer Streets initiative, Safe Sidewalks program and Vision Zero. For more information, to to www.houstontx.gov/disabilities.