The race for Mayor of Houston is big business. Whether that be from the standpoint of running the government equivalent of a $5 Billion dollar corporation, or from the nearly $2 million dollars needed to wage a credible campaign, having a serious shot at winning the office takes some serious commitment.
When I first met Ben Hall back in April, that serious commitment was on full display. He spoke with careful eloquence and clear conviction about why he was entering the Mayor’s race. He proved to be very knowledgeable about the Bayou City, and spoke of how he’s been disappointed in the work of “the incumbent” over the past 4 years. Hall offered little in the way of specifics, but his vision for the city was truly grand. I knew that Mayor Parker had drawn a real challenge for the 2013 elections.
That was then, and this is now. Ben Hall has not lived up to a very promising first impression. Instead of offering a different vision for the city, he instead chose to berate the incumbent as “small-minded”, when in reality it is Hall’s campaign that has proven to be so.
While Hall has spent his time being small-minded, Mayor Annise Parker has mostly done the work of the city in an admirable fashion. After four years of weathering a difficult economic storm, Houston businesses are doing better than any place in the nation. This is partly due to the good fortunes of Texas’ strong energy sector, but make no mistake, the city would be in a worse position if not for Parker’s dedication and meticulous planning. Programs like Hire Houston First gave contracts to local businesses in a time that they were needed the most, helping to quicken the Bayou City’s lift out of the Recession. Parker led major trade missions Brazil and Turkey, planting the seeds for important economic opportunities in the city’s future. Though we may not see all of the progress yet, the Rebuild Houston initiative created a long-term, fiscally responsible plan to fix city streets, and decrease debt. None of these things are paying immediate dividends, and none of them can be held up as some shiny political prize. But the long-term investment in Houston is going to make for a better city, and Parker is doing it the hard way. She’s tackling big issues, one day at a time and seeing how we can make things better.
For all of the things she’s tackled head-on, there are still a host of issues where Annise Parker has been far too risk averse. Texas Leftist is hopeful that her third term will finally bring some significant legislation to protect GLBT citizens from discrimination, and to address the troubling discriminatory practices within Houston’s law enforcement agencies. But for 2013, Annise Parker has proven that she deserves to win reelection. I look forward to what the 3rd term brings.
The pick for Mayor of Houston is Annise Parker.