Meet Mayor-Elect Annise Parker
December 13, 2009

Mayor-elect Annise Parker is keeping a busy schedule the day after she won a very divisive and historic runoff  race.

UPDATE: A source told 2 On The Beat that Parker began her day attending praise and worship service at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Houston’s third ward.

Pastor D.Z. Cofield presides over the predominately African-American congregation.  The source told me that Parker and Cofield have a twelve-year  friendship and working relationship.

 She was invited to attend the 10 a.m. service by some of   her supporters who are also church  members.

Parker spoke briefly at the end of  the service and Pastor Cofield asked that everyone pray for her,  even if they didn’t vote for her in the runoff election.

Later in the day it was back to official business.

Parker was surrounded by  a handful of  her campaign staff, including campaign manager Adam Harris and communications director Jeri Brooks,   who helped her juggle a news conference and sitdown interviews with local and national members of the media.

It seems the whole world wants to know more about Houston’s first openly gay mayor-elect.  On January 1st, Parker will officially become the first openly gay woman to lead the nation’s 4th  largest city,

During the news conference, the mayor-elect announced  that State Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) will be one of the key players on  her transition team.

In addition to starting  work on the city finances and finding ways to cut spending, Parker plans to begin  meeting with city department heads.

Her priority is to start making changes at the Houston Police and Fire Departments.

Parker made no secret during the campaign that she plans  to replace HPD  Chief  Harold  Hurtt. “I want to have my own police chief,” she told the media.

She also told reporters that she believes there is an urgent  need for significant change in the fire department.  She plans to meet with HFD Chief Phil Borieski in the coming days.

Parker says she’s concerned the department has not properly handled complaints of racism and sexism, and that it doesn’t have enough women within the ranks for a department of  its size.

 

Gay Caucus Celebrates Historic Victory
December 13, 2009

*CAUCUS CELEBRATES HISTORIC VICTORY*  The Houston Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Political Caucus hailed the victory of Annise Parker, who tonight was elected to become the first openly gay mayor of a major city in the United States.  

 

 “Decades of work, by both Mayor-elect Parker and this organization, have finally paid off,” said Kristopher Banks, president of the Caucus. “We celebrate tonight the biggest benchmark to date that our city judges people not by their sexual orientation, but by their hard work and ability.” The Caucus endorsed Parker early, in February, and made her election a priority, funneling volunteer efforts to her campaign and offering it their resources. Parker is a former president of the Caucus, and her leadership of the organization was one of her first roles in civic engagement. She was the first openly gay person elected to office in the Houston area when she won an at-large City Council seat in 1997.  To date, the largest city with an openly gay mayor in the United States has been Portland, Oregon, a city less than one quarter the population of Houston.   

 “History has been made for the entire nation, and we could not be prouder that the catalyst comes from our city and from our community,” Banks said. Parker will be one of two former Caucus presidents at Council dais. Council Member Sue Lovell, a former president, was re-elected to her third term.Council Member Lovell was also endorsed by the Caucus and remains a strong supporter of the organization.