We're in the final countdown to election day back in H-town, and I'm still anxiously awaiting the outcome of the 2009 mayoral race.
My thoughts over the last few days have drifted back to 1981, the first mayoral election I was eligible to vote in. I fondly remember Kathy Whitmire becoming the first female mayor in Houston history.
It's stayed with me because it was the first Houston mayoral election I was eligible to vote in back in 1981. Our former city controller ran the city for ten year during the challenging times of the 80's and did it well.
The police and fire departments hated 'Tootsie' as they derisively labeled her and don't share my assessment, but many Houstonians do.
Whitmire appointed Lee Brown as our first African-American police chief and later Elizabeth Watson, our first female one. She began the process of making the city run more efficiently and also made Houston city government more diverse.
Now in the early 21st century, we have another talented and well qualified woman seeking to lead my hometown in Annise Parker.
In addition to being the city controller for the last 6 years, she was also a three term at large city council member.
She would be an excellent choice to run the fourth largest city in the country and the largest in Texas. No peeps, Dallas is only the third largest in the state, so don't believe the DFW hype.
But don't take my word for it. Here's what the Houston Chronicle had to say about the 2009 Mayoral race when it issued its endorsement.
Houstonians are fortunate to face a difficult choice for mayor this year between two exceptional candidates, public law attorney Gene Locke and City Controller Annise Parker. It’s likely one or both will be in a runoff after the first round of voting winds up on Nov. 3.
With the city facing critical financial decisions early next year as a result of the economic downturn, the next mayor will occupy a pivotal leadership position. Parker and Locke offer deep roots in the city and a dazzling range of life experiences and public service that would well equip either to serve as the successor to term-limited Mayor Bill White.
The Chronicle is withholding its final endorsement in the race until the runoff. We have made this unusual decision because the candidates are so evenly matched, and we want to hear more details about their ideas for managing the city before recommending the person who could well control the helm of City Hall for the next six years.
Parker and Locke have very different styles, but have shown the ability to get things done in making our city a better place. With either candidate, Houston is guaranteed to come out a winner.
That decision is in the hands of Houston's voters now, and I hope my fellow Houstonians choose well.