Mayor Annise Parker: Working to Make the Best City in America Even Better.
Mayor Annise Parker has always known that Houston is the best place in America to live, work and raise a family. And now America is catching on in a big way.
We're leading the nation in job creation. We're "America's Coolest City" (Forbes) and the 7th best place in the world to visit in 2013 (New York Times). We're the #1 city in America to further a career (Monster.com). And those are just a few examples in just the last year.
But Annise knows that we can do even better.
That's why, under her leadership, Houston's city government is borrowing less and doing more on a pay-as-you-go basis. We've created a dedicated fund for street repairs and flood prevention. We've secured funding for new libraries and laid the foundation for a parks and trails system that most cities can only dream of. Crime is down. We're demolishing crack houses and dangerous abandoned apartment complexes – and we're modernizing our police and fire stations.
Decisive, Responsible Leadership
Annise hit the ground running as Houston's mayor in the midst of the worst recession in generations. She worked quickly with a bi-partisan coalition to save 5,000 jobs at the Johnson Space Center, put a new reform team in place at METRO that acted aggressively to preserve millions of dollars in threatened federal funds, and led the rescue of our financially troubled water system to ensure a safe and stable supply of drinking water for generations.
With a laser focus on jobs and the economy, Annise pioneered the Hire Houston First program to encourage the use of local companies and workers on taxpayer-funded projects. In the first year of the program, more than $139 million of city business had been awarded to certified Hire Houston First firms, sustaining more than 6,000 jobs.
"I am proud of our progress, but I know there is much more work to be done if we want to make sure Houston lives up to our full promise and potential," says Annise. Annise, who pioneered the regular use of performance audits as city controller, knows that a business approach to managing our tax dollars will help us afford vital priorities like public safety, after-school programs and senior centers, a cleaner environment and economic growth that sustains our quality of life.
A Mayor Who Gets It – and Gets the Job Done
Like many Houstonians, Annise understands what it feels like to suddenly not know how you're going to make ends meet. "When I was growing up, my father invested all his savings to start a fishing camp on the Gulf Coast," Annise says. "It was his dream, and it was a success – until one day a barge knocked down the only bridge to the peninsula where we were located. It wasn't his fault, but my dad went broke. I can still see the worry in his eyes. It took a long time for our family to get back on its feet. And I know there are a lot of families like that in Houston today."
That's why Annise is working so hard to make sure that economic opportunity and a high quality of life are available to every Houston family. She led the fight to create Rebuild Houston, a pay-as-you-go comprehensive street and drainage improvement program that will provide jobs for Houstonians for years to come, and won voter approval last year of a public improvement bond program and a transportation measure that will provide the infrastructure Houston needs to support its growing economy.
In addition to her duties as mayor, Parker is an active member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and serves as a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary's Advisory Council and on the boards of the Texas Environmental Research Consortium and Houston Galveston Area Council.
A Businesswoman and Neighborhood Leader
Annise spent 20 years in Houston's oil and gas industry after graduating from Rice University. She has served the people of Houston for six years as a city councilmember, six years as city controller – and is completing her second term as mayor.
Annise's advocacy for quality of life issues earned her Scenic Houston's 2010 Scenic Visionary Award and the Distinguished Local Elected Official Award from the Texas Recreation and Park Society. The Holocaust Museum of Houston honored Annise with its 2010 Guardian of the Human Spirit Award for her lifetime of working to enhance the lives of others and to better humankind. Time Magazine named Annise in 2010 one of the 100 people who most affect our world.
Annise and her life partner, Kathy Hubbard, are strong advocates for adoption. Their family includes two adopted daughters and a son. "A culture of community and public service is one of the greatest assets of our city. I see my job as mayor as a call to civic engagement," Annise says.
"It takes all of us to make Houston the best," says the mayor. "And I am honored to work with Houstonians every single day to keep making it better."