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Guest on The Infra Blog: Annise D. Parker, Mayor of Houston

Posted by Steve Anderson on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Annise D. Parker, Mayor of Houston

Mayor Annise Parker is a second generation native Houstonian. She attended Rice University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. In the private sector, she spent 20 years working in the oil and gas industry, including 18 years with Mosbacher Energy Company. She also co-owned a retail bookstore for 10 years.

Mayor Parker was just elected to her third term as mayor. She is Houston’s 61st Mayor and one of only two women to hold the City’s highest elected office. As the City’s chief executive officer, she is responsible for all aspects of the general management of the City and for enforcement of all laws and ordinances.

Parker has spent many years in service to the people of Houston, with six years as a City Council member and six years as City Controller. She is the only person in Houston history to hold the offices of council member, controller and mayor.

In addition to her duties as mayor, Parker is a member of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 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. She is an advisory board member of the Holocaust Museum, Center for Houston’s Future and Montrose Center. 

President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience
“None of us knows today what the ultimate impact on our climate will be, but even the skeptics have to acknowledge that the global climate changes over time. Whether you acknowledge the impact of human beings or not, you have to acknowledge that global climate does change, and if it changes in a sufficient arc it can have devastating impacts on local communities.”

Houston Leading in Infra Investment
Houston has taken a leadership role in investment in infrastructure of different kinds…And it’s not just in the built environment and the buildings: we are experimenting with wind turbines; we are aggressively converting to LED fixtures for our buildings, our traffic signals; we’re doing everything we can, within reasonable economic limits, to have a greener, more sustainable future and reduce our carbon footprint here in the heart of oil and gas country.”

Out of Sight=Out of Mind
“A lot of the infrastructure we’re talking about, no one sees…A well-run, well-functioning city is really transparent to the people who are in that city. If it’s operating well, you really don’t see it. The other problem is that these other types of big infrastructure work take years of planning and design and then construction…A lot of public officials aren’t interested in spending their political capital in that way.

Awareness is the Answer
“I absolutely believe that if you do the education, the American people will put money into these types of projects. We wouldn’t have been able to do what we’re doing in Houston without that…But you can’t just spring it on people; you have to explain the need, build up credibility with the public and you have to be able to clearly articulate what the benefits are going to be and the public will support it.” 

Download full transcript (PDF): Annise D. Parker on The Infra Blog

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