Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston, Texas, USA
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The 2004 contest
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About City Mayors
Mayor of Houston (USA)
The winner and runner-ups of World Mayor 2014 will be chosen based on the number of nominations in relation to the size of their cities and, more importantly, on the persuasiveness and conviction of testimonials received during this year's World Mayor Project. Below we publish a selection of comments received to date about WM nominee Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston,Texas, USA.
Comment: Annise Parker should be 2014 World Mayor because of her adept balancing of social and economic issues while making significant progress on both during her three terms as mayor of my hometown, Houston, Texas, USA. Her policies, which enabled the city to remain fiscally healthy during the worst of the recent recession, set the stage for the tremendous economic growth Houston enjoys today. Meanwhile, she champions human rights issues such as by being a pioneer (first openly-gay mayor of a major city) and a role model. I am from Houston originally, having moved to Washington, DC in June, 2011, and I see my hometown thrive more and more each time I go home to visit. (By Dr Frank T, Washington DC)
Comment: Hello Global Community: I would like to tell you how wonderful Mayor Parker is for her city, the state of Texas and the United States of America. She is fiscally conservative and has a great deal of integrity.
One of the most difficult times was when she asked all of the departments to lay off employees to balance the budget. I think this was hard to announce and make it happen. I know it would have been easier to continue without change, but the city needed to make cuts. Being a good leader is about making difficult decisions even if it hurts.
A true leader is willing to do what is best for the long-term health of the city, not the short-term gain for a politician. I would appreciate your consideration for Mayor Parker to win this award. (By Roxanne B, Houston)
Comment: I unfortunately had to leave Houston for school, but during my five years in the city Mayor Annise Parker stands out the model of effective pragmatism. In a country where bipartisanship has become the bitter norm, Mayor Parker truly embodies the spirit of Houston by deciding not only to reject that, but to project an image of doing so effortlessly and without self-aggrandizing rhetoric. She merges her character with that of the city: she just gets things done. (By Jordan S)
Comment: When I was a high school sophomore I founded a Young Democrats club at my school. I invited then City Controller Parker to speak to my club and she was gracious enough to visit us on Election Day. Although everyone at the school was very amped up about the national election, Mayor Parker spoke with us about the importance of being engaged in local politics. She helped us understand how local politics have a much larger breadth of impact on our day to day lives than national politics, and at least for me, this has encouraged me to be much more engaged than I otherwise would have been in my local community. I am so proud of Mayor Parker and her accomplishments, and think fondly of her visit often. (By Reid S, Austin, Texas)
Comment: This Mayor has been so well regarded that the fact she is (openly) gay has never been an issue. Her concerns as Mayor have always been the needs of the City. She has balanced the city's budget, absorbing costs quietly pushed into her term by previous mayors, without forwarding such costs to the next mayor. She has worked intelligently to reduce pollution in the city, attacking it at its source, testing legal obstacles and overcoming many of those obstacles successfully. Because the City lost lives, 30,000 homes and millions of cars in the flooding from Hurricane Allison, she pushed through a dedicated tax to fund drainage and street improvements, all being implemented now. She has supported bike trails, park improvements, rail transportation, tree plantings, and many other issues to improve the quality of life in the city. Other mayors have talked about these things and many more, she has been remarkable in the success of moving them forward. She makes us wish term limits had never been implemented! I will miss her. (By Virginia C, Houston)
Comment: My dad was military and my family moved to a new city every 1-2 years. I moved to Houston at the age of 29 thinking it would be a great stop for a year or two. After a couple of years I realized I actually wanted to stay in Houston and decided to make it my home. As I was making this important decision, I attended a campaign rally for an at-large city council candidate, Annise Parker. Her speech that night and the wonderful group of people supporting her reminded me of why Houston I was contemplating putting down roots for the first time in my life.
22 years later, Annise Parker has been serving her city and community proudly and free of scandal. She is a proven leader and excellent city administrator. I am proud to be a Houstonian and prouder still that we have elected Mayor Parker to office.
I nominate her without reservation. Mayor Annise Parker is deserving of this designation. (By Gregory S, Houston)
Comment: Dear Friends, I am thrilled to discover that my mayor is up for best mayor in the whole wide world award--okay, 2014 World Mayor Prize. But I am expressing my opinion as to how I feel about our mayor. Let me begin with a little example as to why she deserves this recognition. As with many cities struggling to find the monies to pay for our infrastructure needs, roads especially, our mayor looked at creative ways to address this issue. She was willing to push a rebuild fee that citizens voted for and will now pay for the desperately needed infrastructure repairs of our city roads. The visceral resistance to any monies raised for government in this atmosphere is almost overwhelming.
Mayor Parker lead a successful plan to fund our roads, however, this still meant we had a major backlog of roads needing repair. One of the roads in desperate need was by the university I work at. The mayor was always being reminded of the repairs needed. The road was slated to be rebuilt in 2020. Her willingness to collaborate with the university and together rebuild the road was an example of the kind of smart leadership she provides. The university worked closely with the city and the road was rebuilt in three months. All sides were happy with the outcome and a closer bond has been built between the city and a major university. When does anyone see that happen. Mayor Annise Parker is a good government leader but also one of the most honest and decent human beings I have ever met. She is in my humble opinion the best mayor in the whole wide world. (By Maria C G, Houston)
Comment: We all know that “Leadership Begins at the Top” and Mayor Annise Parker is the major reason that Houston is now the #1 destination for businesses-----U Hauls---and the “brightest and best” talent in the United States to locate in Houston. “It is not bragging if you can do it” and Mayor Parker demonstrates every day she can do it as she leads up forward in making Houston the best Destination City in the United States! (By Dr Mary Ann R W, Houston)
Comment: Hello! I work in the media department for the City of Houston local government. I’ve worked here for over 9 years. I’ve worked for three different Mayors and I plan on working for all the upcoming Mayors until I retire. Regardless of whoever gets voted in, my job is to work at the best of my ability in their service and for the public.
I’ve worked for Mayor Parker for the last 6 years and really have been impressed with the way she handles city business. I’ve seen her under pressure, under duress, under fire and even with a beer in her hand. Her drive to keep making hard decisions to move the City of Houston forward has impressed me. She has a great empathy for all of the citizens, even the ones that yell at her on a regular basis.
I’ve seen her face down angry fire fighters, mad Christians, and even madder cab drivers and each time, explain not only her position, but the city’s position and follow through as best she can in keeping the balance. I’ve seen her vote with her mind, explain her position and still been defeated by Council on agenda items. I’ve seen her take it in stride and say, repeatedly, that’s what Houston citizens want then so be it. I’ve learned by watching her with her staff, her friends, and her family she’s as real as she presents herself on TV. She speaks clearly, with forethought and she speaks loudly.
I have come to admire Mayor Parker. I’ve come to appreciate her way of handling very controversial issues, loudly and clearly. I will miss her way of dealing with conflicts and issues and her compassionate nature, even for citizens that don’t care for her politics or lifestyle.
I work for Mayor Parker now. I will work for the next Mayor that gets voted into that office. But I will miss helping her grow this hybrid city to the international capital she always talked about. Houston is an international city and Mayor Parker is one of the reasons of why it can claim that title. Mayor Parker has my vote for the award. (By Jana O, Houston)
Comment: Houston has THRIVED under Mayor Parker's leadership. She came into office during the Great Recession and I think her leadership is why we've weathered that storm so well. Buffalo Bayou Park (just west of downtown) is under going a major renovation that will make it one of the best parks in the State (dare I say the country) and all of that has come to fruition through her support.
She's also made key legislative changes making Houston a better place to live such as Houston's HERO ordinance - protecting LGBT rights. Obviously that's a topic that's near and dear to Mayor Parker, however, she's made it clear she's the city's leader first and foremost and an activist for her own beliefs second.
I can't think of a time when Houston has been more vibrant. I will be truly sad to see Mayor Parker leave office. Finding a successor will be difficult. (By Joseph S, Houston)
Comment: Annise Parker is a strong outstanding woman who has over come so much but still able to be the best she can be no matter what! She deserves this more than anyone! (By Christina G, Houston)
Comment: Please register my vote for Anise Parker in the "Best Mayor in the World" competition. Mayor Parker has served the city of Houston with dignity and integrity, embodying the very principles of fairness, diversity and opportunity. She is beloved by the residents of Houston for her steadfast decisiveness and her gracious demeanor and approachability. She has faced the tough issues as well as detraction with clear and thoughtful resolve. We are very proud to have elected her to the post, and will be saddened when the term limits prevent us from electing her, again. (By Buz L, Houston)
Comment: Mayor Parker has inspired many women in this city to be involved in the political process. For myself, she is the first politician that reached out to our local Society of Women Engineers. She is not an engineer but she talked to us about how our skills are invaluable to the city and how necessary our involvement is to the workings of the government. It was great and there are many of us from that speech that are now active.
My sons love her too and always give her a hug when she attends Dynamo games. She was instrumental to our new stadium and has given my family an activity that we enjoy.
She is a great mayor because she takes the time to consider the sides. She works hard to balance all the different variables of the equation to make the right decisions. (By Kc d l G, Houston)
Comment: A few reasons Annise Parker should be the winner:
· Current-Dollar Gross Domestic Product 2013: 517,367
• 112,200 new jobs in 12 months (ending July 2014)
• Acceleration in job growth: 4 percent
• The most job growth for a large city in the U.S.
• Led the U.S. in exports for the 2nd consecutive year ($114.963 billion)
• Construction permits for the past 12 months: $7.6 billion (a 30% increase over the previous 12 months)
• Home sales in the past 12 months: 89,666
• Vehicle sales in the past 12 months: 371,406
• Foreign trade in the first seven months of this year: +$150.9 billion (up 5.1% from last year)
(By Beth H Y, Houston)
Comment: Mayor Parker is proof that Houston is more than a conservative, old-guard ruled city. Houston is a progressive and cosmopolitan city full of open-minded and open-hearted individuals. She is a strong leader, a woman who loves her city and represents it well. HOUSTON LOVES MAYOR PARKER!! (By Srah B, Houston)
Comment: Mayor Annise Parker is in her third and final term as mayor of America's fourth largest city. Houston is a genuine international city, and Mayor Parker has led the city into embracing such a diverse population. She led the city into establishing HERO Houston Equal Rights Ordinance which affords legal protection in all aspects of law to everyone living and working in the city without regard to race, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, disability, etc. She fought for this measure even while she endured criticism from opponents for her openness about her being one of two same-sex parents to her children. She also has endured condemnation largely from Houston's Christian community for her marriage in California to her long-time partner.
Under Mayor Parker's leadership and fiscal acumen, the city is booming economically as thousands from all over the world are making Houston home. In the midst of global recession, Houston has emerged as a leader in economic recovery.
I heartily endorse Mayor Parker for this honor because of her leadership, tenacity and valor. (By Paul R, Houston)
Comment: I want to cast my vote for Mayor Annise Parker of Houston for the 2014 World Mayor Prize. Mayor Parker will have served the City of Houston for 18 years by the time she completes her final term as Mayor on January 2, 2016. She is the first to have served in every elected capacity the city offers--City Council Member, City Controller and Mayor. In her years as a public servant she has promoted the city's diversity by speaking to every cultural, racial and ethnic group in the city, attending their events, and sometimes traveling to their native lands.
This year she submitted to city council an ordinance providing for equal rights for everyone including the GLBT community and was successful in getting it passed. She set up a homeless program which has seen thousands of new units built with priority given to homeless veterans. She had drafted and was successful in securing city council support for a strong historic preservation ordinance in a city used to tearing down "old buildings". She kept the city solvent during the long economic downturn. She has insured better drainage for the city by instituting a drainage fee and putting the city on pay as you go status for drainage for the future.
Within the next two months she will have put every neighborhood in our 600 square mile city on one bin recycling pickup. She has instituted a Complete Streets program to ensure that as we rebuild streets in Houston they are made pedestrian and bicycle friendly and landscaping friendly. She has prioritized the tearing down of dangerous buildings and the redevelopment of declining neighborhoods.
Every couple of months she telephones citizens in a different part of the city to solicit their concerns and answer their questions; in between she holds 3-minutes with the Mayor sessions at libraries and public sites around the city for face to face meetings with citizens. This list does not even begin to scratch the surface of Mayor Parker's actions to make life in Houston better for its citizens. Mayor Parker always tells folks that she loves her job--and she does.
She thrives on governance at the local level. She feels it's where the action is. As a political science major when I was in college, Mayor Parker has been a political scientist's dream come true for me as a Houston citizen. She knows how to play the political game but at heart she is a governance activist. She has made things happen in Houston, and she makes the rest of us believe that progress IS possible with her hard work for, dedication to and love of this city. (By Madeleine A, Houston)
Comment: Annise Parker should be chosen as World’s Best Mayor because throughout her three terms as Mayor, she has never worked toward the goal of being re-elected as Mayor, but rather she works toward doing what is best for the future of the City of Houston. (By Steve D, Houston)
Comment: I have watched Mayor Parker grown from a community activist, neighborhood leader, to City Council and Mayor. She listens to the grassroots consensus, understands business needs, and makes sure everyone has a place at the table. She picks her battles carefully and with great thought and analysis. Texas is often thought of as a backward civilization, but the Mayor makes Houston the exception to this perception. We are growing, and she is working hard to create a workable plan to manage that growth. Something that far too often has been a foreign concept in the past.
She is progressive, in the true sense of the word. She is about PROGRESS for our city. And yeah, she is a lesbian, which gets her a lot of attention, but she is really a great Mayor who happens to be gay. It's not what defines her. She is defined by Houston being a great city. (By Larissa L, Houston)
Comment: Mayor Annise Parker has been one of the best things to happen to our city of Houston, Texas. She has never lost an election in her long tenure of public service to this city as she rose through various positions up to the office of the mayor now in her third and final term. Even though the state of Texas is a huge ”Red” state (primarily Republican), she has managed to earn the great respect of, and garner enough votes from both sides to win her elections handily in this largest city in the state, and fourth largest in the country.
Houston was one of the first to come out of the recession with raging success, and jobless rate in the 4% range. Business and construction is booming all over the city. New homes cannot be built fast enough. New residential high-rises and office towers being built are so numerous, that the city sky-line will be drastically changed in just a few short years. Major and minor parks are being re-imagined all over the city enhancing the aesthetics, and quality of life for all citizens and visitors. And mass transit is finally headed in the right direction bringing us into the 21st century.
When her term ends due to term limits, she will be sorely missed. If we are lucky she will have statewide aspirations so that Texas can once again become “The Great State of Texas”. She will get the job done, should she ever set her sights on the governorship. Ms. Parker IS “The World’s Best Mayor”. (By DJ J, Houston)
Comment: Houston ranks in the Top 10 on every major list indicating “Best Places to Live and Work’ since Annise Parker became our Mayor. She took on a finance and infrastructure “mess” and has radically turned things around, not to mention the social changes brought about during her tenure. No other Mayor can stand up to her quantified and qualified success with this city. (By Leiso H N, Houston)
Comment: Please consider this a vote for Annise Parker of Houston as the world’s best mayor! She has consistently advocated and modeled progressive values, as for example Houston’s anti-discrimination ordinance, and her leadership in opposing harsh (and probably unconstitutional) restrictions on abortion in the state. She has also run a city with one of America’s best, booming economies, and without a whiff of scandal; and she has remained quite popular with the citizenry. (By Gary B, Houston)
Comment: Annise Parker smart, cool, aggressive big problem solver, astute politician, team and community builder, exudes diversity, lives and breathes sustainability, an openly gay mayor in ultraconservative Texas, RE-ELECTED twice (maximum by law) in a big Oil and Gas industry city with decreasing carbon footprint! Who else in the world could compete with her she is the BEST MAYOR in the WORLD! (By Wade A, Houston)
Comment: I believe Annise Parker should be awarded the esteemed recognition of "World Mayor" for many reasons including her diligent work at including all Houstonians in government, her embracement of Houston's diverse population, her work to provide some of the best services Houston has seen in decades while still balancing the city budget.
I think it's testament enough that an out lesbian could be elected mayor of the 4th largest city in the nation (3 times), especially in such a conservative state as Texas. However she has managed to rightfully keep her sexuality out of the spotlight while focusing on the business of managing our great city. I have never known a mayor of this city to actually keep all of their campaign promises but as far as I can see, Ms. Parker has managed to do so, and with style and grace I might add.
I could not be more proud to have Annise Parker as my mayor and I hope that she can be recognized for this by your great organization. (By Bruce B, Houston)
Comment: Mayor Annise Parker, Houston is very unique in her leadership skills supported by her personal life. Her achievements, along with the trust and respect she develops in others, demonstrates she is a person of high integrity and honesty. She works well with and is accepted by different cultural, racial and social backgrounds because she consistently works for the common good of the public. Mayor Annise Parker has pulled together the business community to achieve mutual goals for business growth, social changes, and public support. On a personal note, I like and respect Annise Parker so much that I wish she was my neighbor. (By K A, Conroe, Texas)
Comment: I am a proud member of the Patriot Guard Riders of SouthEast Texas. During the tragic loss of our Firefighters in the Southwest Inn fire, the tears shed from from Mayor Parker were real. Her Love & Strength were the foundation in which the City of Houston has built its long road to its recovery. Her leadership continues to build a strong city.(By Sabrina R, Houston)
Comment: Annie's Parker is the best mayor ever. Houston is a great city, and she has helped make it greater. She was a community organizer before she was elected to several city offices, so by the time she became mayor, she was extremely qualified for the job. She works hard, digging into the details as well as seeing the big picture. The latest example of her leadership is the newly announced initiative on climate change and conservation. Mayor Parker is not just a good administrator and manager, but also a role model as a human being. She has been in a stable loving relationship for many years and has created a family through adoption of older kids who needed her love and attention. She has a good sense of humor and likes to have fun. She is definitely one of the world's best mayors! (By Nell R, Houston)
Comment: Mayor Parker is a sincere Houstonian. She is committed to our community and doing what in the best interest of everyone in it. Houston has the 30th largest economy in the world and is continuously improving by the day. Mayor Parker is actively involved in discussions concerning the community and participates in local public events frequently. Because of Mayor Parkers dedication to her post and the city of Houston I believe she deserves recognition as well as appreciation. Thank you Mayor Parker. (By Setorian B, Houston)
Comment: I submit my vote for Annise Parker as the 2014 World Mayor award for the following reasons:
• Honesty & Integrity Annise tells it like it is. While sensitive to people’s concerns, she will not hide from difficult facts nor does she pander to groups to gain favor.
• Business and human development Annise has been very successful in delivering both business and human development for the city. Houston’s growth over the past few years has been extraordinary and well documented. Importantly (but less visibly) she has also delivered important progress on human development with her stands on gay rights and improvements in schooling. My daughter is a sophomore in the HISD system and I have been extremely impressed by the quality of her school and the personalized approach they take to their students …. better than most private schools! (By Douglas B, Houston)
Comment: Please accept my vote of support for Houston Mayor Annise Parker for the 2014 World Mayor Prize. Mayor Parker has demonstrated a high level of integrity and honesty during her terms as mayor of Houston, Texas. She has risen above the divisiveness and lack of civil discourse that so characterize American politics today and has maintained her focus on improving our fine city economically and culturally. Mayor Parker has worked toward a goal of lifting up less fortunate citizens, maintaining good relations between the people and the police, and making Houston a city of true equality among all its residents. She makes me proud to be a Houstonian! (By Beth C, Houston)
Comment: I would like to give to you the many reasons I believe Houston's mayor, Anise Parker, deserves to win.
Anise Parker has given so much to the city of Houston; much of the changes she has implemented welcome visors and new residents with open arms to our city and allow Houston to greet the future with the promises of greatness.
Firstly, Anise Parker implemented a program to "shut down" streets from motorized vehicles on the first Sunday of every month . This program allows for people to use bicycles and walk freely throughout the confined, designated area. It allows for Houstonians and visitors alike to take in the culture of the community here and promotes the green, environmental lifestyle that Houston is building. It attracts people to local business by slowing the speed of everyday life; by walking, a person can take notice of the smaller business's within the area.
Further more, Anise Parker has prioritized freeway expansion and roadway reconstruction in our quickly growing city. Beltways extending to the outermost limits of Houston have allowed for residents living in the suburbs to commute to work more efficiently. By creating wider road ways, she has also helped with growing traffic congestion problems; it is also notable to say that bumpy roads are being smoothed over in an effort to make commuting more enjoyable.
Perhaps the most important part of why Anise Parker should win is her courage and strength, and her representation of Houston. She shows courage and strength in marrying the woman she loves; she encourages others to be who they are and to never compromise their dreams. She represents our city's open minded-ness, uniqueness, diversity and forward thinking. We Houstonians seek a brighter future, innovation propelled by diversity, a city rich in culture and ready to embrace the world. I hope our mayor wins because she represents what Houston's all about. (By Natalie L, Houston)
Comment: I do NOT believe she should get it. I am totally against her getting that position. She has hurt Houston not helped it. Instead of fixing what needs to be fixed she has use funds to create more stuff that is nice but is not needed and my biggest complaint is how she is trying to hurt the Houston Fire Dept by taking away their retirement. These men and women put their lives on the line and you want to hurt them. You want to cut back in CERTAIN neighborhoods but NOT yours (Roaming brownouts). Totally against. (By Shana R, Houston)
The philanthropic City Mayors Foundation awards the World Mayor Prize every two years to a mayor who has made outstanding contributions to his / her community and has developed a vision for urban living and working that is relevant to towns and cities across the world. The Prize has been awarded since 2004.
Anyone voting for a mayor is also asked to consider whether his / her candidate is likely to agree to the City Mayors Code of Ethics. Mayors wishing to be considered for the World Mayor Prize will be asked to sign up to the Code.
Votes must be accompanied by a thoughtful supporting statement.
First-round nominations were accepted until the middle of May 2014. A longlist of 121 candidates was published on 22 May. A shortlist of 26 nominees was announced on 18 June 2014. A second round of voting will take place between now and the middle of October. The winner of the 2014 World Mayor Prize and other results of the World Mayor Project were announced on 3 February 2015.
The philanthropic City Mayors Foundation, the international think tank on urban affairs, organises the World Mayor Project and awards the World Mayor Prize. The Prize, which has been given since 2004, honours mayors with the vision, passion and skills to make their cities incredible places to live in, work in and visit. The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve and raise their profiles nationally and internationally.
The organisers of the World Mayor Project are looking for city leaders who excel in qualities like: leadership and vision, management abilities and integrity, social and economic awareness, ability to provide security and to protect the environment as well as the will and ability to foster good relations between communities from different cultural, racial and social backgrounds. Mayors wishing to be considered for the World Mayor Prize will be asked to sign up to the City Mayors Code of Ethics.
The winner receives the artistically acclaimed World Mayor trophy, while the runner-up is given the World Mayor Commendation.
Winners and runners-up
2004 to 2014
In 2014: Winner: Naheed Nenshi (Calgary, Canada); First runner-up: Daniël Termont (Ghent, Belgium); Second runner-up: Tri Rismaharini (Surabaya, Indonesia)
In 2012: Winner: Iñaki Azkuna (Bilbao, Spain); Runner-up: Lisa Scaffidi (Perth, Australia); In third place: Joko Widodo (Surakarta, Indonesia)
In 2010: Winner: Marcelo Ebrard (Mexico City, Mexico); Runner-up: Mick Cornett (Oklahoma City, USA); In third place: Domenico Lucano (Riace, Italy)
In 2008: Winner: Helen Zille (Cape Town, South Africa); Runner up: Elmar Ledergerber (Zurich, Switzerland); In third place: Leopoldo López (Chacao, Venezuela)
In 2006: Winner: John So (Melbourne, Australia); Runner up: Job Cohen (Amsterdam, Netherland); In third place: Stephen Reed (Harrisburg, USA)
In 2005: Winner: Dora Bakoyannis (Athens, Greece); Runner-up: Hazel McCallion (Mississauga, Canada); In third place: Alvaro Arzú (Guatemala City, Guatemala)
In 2004: Winner: Edi Rama (Tirana, Albania); Runner-up: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico City, Mexico); In third place: Walter Veltroni (Rome, Italy)