Openly gay Houston city controller
Annise Parker will face Gene Locke in a bid for mayor, the Houston
Parker and City Attorney Locke were the two top
vote-getters out of a field of seven in Tuesday's mayoral election,
but with three strong candidates a runoff was almost certain.
With 92% of the vote counted, Parker is
leading with 30%, followed by Locke with 25%. Trailing in third
place is Peter Brown, who received 22% of the vote.
Parker was feeling confident the entire
evening, telling supporters at her campaign party: “I intend to be
the next mayor of Houston. I'm going to be in the runoff. I'm not
going to speculate any other way.”
Portland is currently the largest U.S.
city to be led by an openly gay mayor, Sam Adams. Parker is running
to lead the nation's fourth largest city.
Parker's political resume includes a
lengthy section on gay and lesbian activism. She helped organize
Houston's early gay pride parades, served as president of the city's
Caucus, and acted as a liaison between the gay community and the
“[I] spent 10 years as the most
visible lesbian activist in Houston – in Texas – and I spent 10
years very active in civic clubs and on quality-of-life issues in
Houston,” Parker told gay weekly SOVO.com
in August. “At some point, I realized that I would get more
accomplished from the inside than the outside.”
The fifty-three-year-old made history
in 1997 when she became Houston's first openly gay city council
member. She served three terms on the council, then moved on to city
controller in 2003.
Previous to holding elected office,
Parker worked in the oil and gas industry and co-owned a bookstore.
Along with her partner, Kathy Hubbard, the couple is raising two
adopted daughters and has also raised a foster son, who is now 32.
& Lesbian Victory Fund has endorsed Parker's candidacy for
mayor. So has the historic and powerful Houston
GLBT Political Caucus she once headed.