Who am I?
A businesswoman, community leader and mother, I am completing my second term as Mayor of Houston – with a strong focus on growing our local economy, keeping Houston safe and improving the quality of life for every Houstonian. I have also served for six years as a city councilmember and six years as controller. I worked for 20 years in Houston’s oil and gas industry after graduating from Rice University and served in a variety of community leadership roles before my election to public office.
Why am I running?
Houston is leading the nation in job creation and the vast majority of ways that people rank cities. I’m seeking re-election because I believe we can do even better. During my two terms as mayor, Houston’s city government is borrowing less and doing more on a pay-as-you-go basis. We’ve created a dedicated fund for street repairs and flood prevention. We’ve secured funding for new libraries and laid the foundation for a parks and trails system that most cities can only dream of. Crime is down. We’re demolishing crack houses and dangerous abandoned apartment complexes – and we’re modernizing our police and fire stations. I’m the first person to say there is a lot of work ahead of us and I want to help the best city in America get even better.
Continue to create jobs. We are seeing very good results from Hire Houston First, a program I started to give preference to firms that hire local workers when they apply for city contracts. I will continue the reforms we started in the Office of Business Opportunity – the former Affirmative Action Department. We expanded our overall city-contracting goal for small, minority, woman-owned businesses to 34 percent. We’ve helped secure more than $25 million in private funds for small business loans. We’ve provided incentives that have attracted more than $2.2 billion in economic development for the city. And we’ve worked with labor unions to provide apprenticeship programs on city-funded projects.
Continue to reduce crime and improve public safety. Since I became mayor, Houston’s overall crime rate is down more than 8 percent. We’ve modernized public safety, protected police officers from layoffs and increased the number of officers on the street. We’ve revamped the police radio and technology system, bulldozed 2,000 crack houses and dangerous abandoned buildings, opened our new Sobering Center so that police officers can focus more of their time on fighting crime, made substantial progress on creating an independent crime lab (separated from the police department), put a plan in place to eliminate the backlog of sexual assault kits and more.
Use resources available to the city to support our children’s education. Although the city is not charged with education in the traditional sense (setting the curriculum, hiring teachers, etc.) I’ve made sure that our resources are working to strengthen schools and help schoolchildren. In August we distributed 25,000 backpacks full of school supplies to children in need. I appointed a Chief Education Officer to coordinate city initiatives around education. We’re working to coordinate infrastructure projects near schools and keep our kids safe when they go to school. We’re building new libraries and funding after-school programs. We’re working with partner organizations to help children stay in school and gain the necessary skills to find good jobs when they graduate.
My DFA Values
I love this city. I am proud to live in—and lead—the most diverse, innovative and prosperous city in America. I was born here, but more importantly, I’ve chosen to raise my children here. I want them to grow up in a city whose values, identity and future have been profoundly shaped by many different communities.
I’ve enjoyed having the chance to work with so many communities to make Houston an even better city. Before I was elected to public office, I served as a civic club president, volunteered as a diversity trainer at the police department and was active in non-profit groups and political clubs. I believe that a culture of community and public service is one of the greatest assets of our city. I see my job as mayor as an extension of my community service.
Three Minutes with the Mayor is one of my favorite activities because it brings local government out into the neighborhoods. I enjoy Make Safe Saturdays – our neighborhood cleanup initiative – because we get to see the fruits of our labor right when we finish the work. And our neighborhood revitalization efforts are particularly rewarding. A few weeks ago, we unveiled the first of 16 homes being built in the Sunnyside and South Union neighborhoods as part of a neighborhood revitalization project – I’m proud to use city resources to bring neighborhoods back to life. We have so many vibrant communities in Houston and I love being engaged in each one.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I work hard to engage the progressive community, both in my campaign and in my role as Mayor.
I know Houston will be in good hands long after I’m gone. I’ve spent a good deal of time with an amazing group of young leaders who participated in our campaign Student Leadership Program throughout the summer. Through the program, our campaign recruited and trained 60 college and high school-aged students to learn the inner workings of the campaign. In addition to leading our voter contact programs over the summer, the fellows also coordinated and staffed volunteer events, press events and fundraisers, as well as helped organize our Latino Steering Committee. I’ve literally been blown away by their intelligence, integrity and dedication. If they are in charge when I’m in my twilight years, Houston will continue to be the best city in America for many years to come.
In addition, we have made concerted efforts to reach out to local and national LGBT organizations. My own activist career began as an LGBT organizer and I’ve spent decades fighting for LGBT equality. Several local organizations have already begun hosting phone banks for our campaign and we're working with them to build recruitment and campaign plans that progress all the way through GOTV.