Annise Parker

Annise Danette Parker (born May 17, 1956) is an American politician who served as the 61st Mayor of Houston, Texas, from 2010 until 2016. She also served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council from 1998 to 2003 and city controller from 2004 to 2010.[1][2]

Annise Parker
61st Mayor of Houston
In office
January 2, 2010  January 2, 2016
Preceded byBill White
Succeeded bySylvester Turner
14th City Controller of Houston
In office
January 2, 2004  January 2, 2010
Preceded byJudy Johnson
Succeeded byRonald Green
Member of the Houston City Council
from At-large Position 1
In office
January 2, 1998  January 2, 2004
Preceded byGracie Saenz
Succeeded byMark Ellis
Personal details
Annise Danette Parker

(1956-05-17) May 17, 1956
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Kathy Hubbard (m. 2014)
EducationRice University (BA)
WebsiteGovernment website
Personal website

Parker was Houston's second female mayor (after Kathy Whitmire), and one of the first openly gay mayors of a major U.S. city, with Houston being the most populous U.S. city to date to elect an openly gay mayor, until Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor of Chicago in 2019.[3][4][5]

Following the voter-approval of Proposition 2 on November 3, 2015, which extended the terms of the Mayor, City Controller, and City Councilmembers to two four-year terms, Parker became the last Houston Mayor to be limited to serving three two-year terms.

Early life and education

Parker was born in Houston on May 17, 1956 and grew up in the community of Spring Branch, where she attended public schools. Her mother was a bookkeeper, and her adoptive father worked for the Red Cross. In 1971, when Parker was 15, her family moved to a U.S. Army post in Mannheim, Germany for two years. In Germany, she volunteered in the Red Cross youth service organization and worked at the post library.[6]

Parker began attending Rice University on a National Merit scholarship in 1974, working several jobs to pay for her room and board.[6] A member of Jones College, she graduated in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in anthropology, psychology and sociology.[7]


Prior to serving as an elected official, Parker worked in the oil and gas industry as a software analyst[8] for over 20 years, including 18 years at Mosbacher Energy. In addition, she co-owned Inklings Bookshop with business partner Pokey Anderson from the late 1980s until 1997 and served as president of the Neartown Civic Association from 1995 to 1997.[6] In 1986 and 1987, she was president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.

As of January 2018, Parker is currently CEO and President of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute. She is also a professor at the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University. In 2017 after her role as Mayor of Houston, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for BakerRipley.

Parker currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Holocaust Museum Houston and Girls Inc. and the Advisory Boards of the Houston Zoo, the Montrose Counseling Center, Bering Omega Community Services, and Trees for Houston. She is also involved in historic preservation efforts in Houston and received the “Good Brick Award” from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance for her restoration of historic properties in the Old Sixth Ward.[6]

City Council

Parker ran unsuccessfully for City Council District C in 1991 and again in 1995, finishing third in the special election for At-Large position 4, the seat vacated by Sheila Jackson Lee after her election to Congress.

In 1997, Parker prevailed in the runoff election for At-Large position 1 to become Houston's first openly gay elected official.[9] She was re-elected twice to the same seat in 1999 and 2001 without being forced to a run-off.[10] As a councilmember, she was recognized as "Councilmember of the Year" by the Houston Police Officers Union and earned the "Distinguished Local Elected Official Award" from the Texas Recreational and Park Society.

City Controller

In 2003, Parker was elected City Controller.[2] She was re-elected in 2005 and 2007 unopposed. In addition, Parker also secured a seat for a controller's appointee on the Houston Municipal Pension System Board of Trustees, marking the first time the city's chief financial officer has had any involvement in the pension system."[11]

Houston mayor

2009 election

In 2009, Parker announced her candidacy for the office of Mayor of Houston in a video posted online to her campaign website.[12] She was endorsed by several organizations and campaigned on a platform of better city security and financial efficiency.[13] Other people who were in the running for mayor included Houston City Council Member Peter Hoyt Brown and Harris County school board trustee Roy Morales; they were eliminated from the race on November 3, 2009. She entered the run-off election with the most votes to face former Houston City Attorney Gene Locke who garnered the second most votes. In the general election, the city's primary newspaper endorsed both Parker and Locke.

During the run-off election, Parker was endorsed by former rival Peter Hoyt Brown. The city's primary newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, endorsed Parker over Locke citing her experience. Parker was elected mayor on December 12, 2009, and assumed office on January 2, 2010. Houston became the largest U.S. city ever to have an openly gay individual serve as mayor.[14][15] After the election, Parker declared that the top priorities of her administration would be improving transportation, balancing the city's budget, and selecting a new police chief.[16]

2011 election

In the 2011 election, Parker won a second term as Houston's Mayor by defeating Fernando Herrera, Jack O'Connor, Dave Wilson, Kevin Simms, and Amanda Ulman without a runoff.

2013 election

In November 2013, Parker won a third term as Houston's Mayor by winning 57.22% of the vote, making a runoff unnecessary.

Parker was succeeded on January 2, 2016 by state legislator Sylvester Turner, who became the city's second African American mayor.

Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

On May 28, 2014, the Houston City Council passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) which was authored by Parker,[17] by a vote of 11 to 6. Mayor Parker had certified that "there exists a public emergency requiring that this Ordinance be passed finally on the date of its introduction".[18] On July 3, 2014, opponents of the ordinance submitted 50,000 signatures to the city to force the ordinance to a vote of the public.[19][20][21][22] The city announced that the opponents were 2,022 signatures short of the 17,269 needed to put the matter to a vote.[23][20][24] HERO opponents filed a lawsuit[25] against Mayor Parker and the city on August 5, 2014.[17] In response, city attorneys defending the law filed subpoenas for sermons from local Christian pastors.[20] Attorneys for the pastors called the subpoenas retaliation against Christians for opposing the ordinance. Parker maintained that the attorneys who dealt with the lawsuit for the city were outside lawyers (i.e., not city employees) and that she and City Attorney David Feldman had been unaware of the subpoenas.[22] After what some news organizations called a "firestorm"[26][27] of criticism over the subpoenas (Parker said that she had been "vilified coast to coast"[27]), Parker directed the city's attorneys on October 29, 2014 to withdraw the subpoenas.[28] After the subpoenas were withdrawn, local city pastors filed a civil rights lawsuit against Parker.[21][29] The ordinance was later overturned by Houston voters by a 61%-39% margin.[30]

Personal life

Parker and her partner, Kathy Hubbard, have been together since 1990.[6] On January 16, 2014, Parker and Hubbard were married in Palm Springs, California.[31][32] They have two adopted children together as well as a then-teenage boy that they offered a home and whom they consider their son and a god-daughter.[33][34]

Parker resides in East Montrose (a neighborhood of Houston) as of 2002; she had lived there since around 1991.[35]

Electoral history


Houston Controller Election 2003[36]
Candidate Votes % ±
Annise Parker 109,393 42%
Bruce Tatro 52,366 20%
Mark Lee 40,103 15%
Gabriel Vasquez 30,784 12%
Steve Jones 26,303 10%
Houston Controller Election 2003, Runoff[37]
Candidate Votes % ±
Annise Parker 127,280 62.05%
Bruce Tatro 77,849 37.95%


Houston Controller Election 2005
Candidate Votes % ±
Annise Parker


Houston Controller Election 2007
Candidate Votes % ±
Annise Parker


Houston Mayoral Election 2009[38]
Candidate Votes % ±
Annise Parker 53,919 30.82%
Gene Locke 43,974 25.14%
Peter Brown 39,456 22.56%
Roy Morales 35,802 20.47%
Houston Mayoral Run-Off Election 2009[39]
Candidate Votes % ±
Annise Parker 81,971 52.8%
Gene Locke 73,331 47.2%


CandidateVote NumberVote Percentage[40]
Annise D. Parker97,00957.22%
Ben Hall46,77527.59%
Eric B. Dick18,30210.79%
Victoria Lane1,7821.05%
Don Cook1,7201.01%
Keryl Burgess Douglas1,1920.70%
Michael Fitzsimmons1,1790.70%
Derek A. Jenkins8230.49%
Charyl L. Drab7670.45%

See also


  1. "Mayor's Office". City of Houston, TX. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
  2. "Past City Controllers". The City of Houston. 2013. Archived from the original on June 23, 2011. Retrieved July 23, 2013. Annise D. Parker (2004 - 2010)
  3. Bustillo, Miguel (December 12, 2009). "Houston Election May Prove Historic". The Wall Street Journal.
  4. Olson, Bradley (December 13, 2009). "Annise Parker elected Houston's next mayor". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on December 17, 2009. Retrieved December 13, 2009.
  5. James C. McKinley Jr (December 12, 2009). "Houston Is Largest City to Elect Openly Gay Mayor". New York Times. Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2009.
  6. "About Annise". Annise Parker for Houston. The Annise Parker Campaign. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2009.
  7. Brotzen, Franz (December 13, 2009). "Rice alumna Annise Parker elected Houston mayor". Rice University. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010.
  8. James, Randy (December 15, 2009). "Annise Parker, Houston's Gay Mayor". Time. Archived from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  9. Verhovek, Sam Howe (December 8, 1997). "Houston Elects Lee Brown As Its First Black Mayor". The New York Times. Retrieved November 25, 2007.
  10. "Office of the City Secretary". Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  11. "Office of the City Controller". Archived from the original on March 24, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2009.
  12. "Annise Parker Official Website". Archived from the original on February 10, 2006. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  13. Nancy Ford (August 14, 2008). "Annie's List Makes Early Endorsement of Annise Parker for Houston Mayor in 2009". OutSmart Magazine. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
  14. "Locke Concedes In Mayor's Race – Politics News Story – KPRC Houston". Archived from the original on December 16, 2009. Retrieved December 13, 2009.
  15. Martin, Jonathan; Smith, Ben (December 16, 2009). "Houston election signals key trend". Politico. Archived from the original on December 19, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  16. Olson, Bradley (December 15, 2009). "Budget cuts, HPD top Parker's agenda (w/video)". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  17. Wright, John (August 6, 2014). "Opponents of Equal Rights Ordinance sue Mayor Annise Parker, city of Houston". Lone Star Q. Archived from the original on October 19, 2014. a lawsuit filed Tuesday by opponents of the city's Equal Rights Ordinance.
  18. "Text of Houston Equal Rights Ordinance - Ordinance No. 2014-530" (PDF). City of Houston, Texas. June 3, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2017. Section 6. That there exists a public emergency requiring that this Ordinance be passed finally on the date of its introduction as requested in writing by the Mayor; therefore, this Ordinance shall be passed finally on such date (i.e., upon its first reading before the City Council rather than its second reading as per the normal procedure.)
  19. Morris, Mike (July 3, 2014). "Equal rights law opponents deliver signatures seeking repeal". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  20. Todd Starnes (October 14, 2014). "City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons". Fox News. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  21. Valerie Richardson (October 29, 2014). "Houston mayor withdraws pastor subpoenas after national uproar". Washington Times. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  22. Josh Sanburn (October 17, 2014). "Houston's Pastors Outraged After City Subpoenas Sermons Over Transgender Bill". Time. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  23. "Houston declares non-discrimination ordinance's repeal petition invalid". KTRK-TV Houston. August 4, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2017. For this specific petition, a total of 17,269 signatures were needed. Feldman says the number of valid signatures submitted came to only 15,247.
  24. Eyder Peralta (October 17, 2014). "Houston Narrows The Scope Of Controversial Subpoena Of Pastors' Sermons". National Public Radio. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  25. "Anti-HERO Petition Lawsuit". Scribd. August 4, 2014. Archived from the original on October 19, 2014.
  26. "Editorial: Houston went too far in sermon subpoenas". The Dallas Morning News. October 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2017. Amid a firestorm of criticism
  27. Weiss, Debra Cassens (October 16, 2014). "Sermon subpoena request was overbroad, Houston mayor acknowledges". ABA Journal. American Bar Association. Retrieved June 27, 2017. After a firestorm erupted over the subpoenas
  28. Gryboski, Michael (October 29, 2014). "Houston Mayor Annise Parker Drops Subpoenas Demanding Pastors Turn Over Their Sermons". The Christian Post. Retrieved June 27, 2017. I am directing the city legal department to withdraw the subpoenas issued to the five Houston pastors
  29. "Pastors sue Houston Mayor Parker over sermons subpoenaed". ABC 13. August 3, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  30. "Cumulative Report - Official - Harris County, Texas - General and Special Elections - November 03, 2015". Stan Stanart: Harris County Clerk. November 11, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  31. Morris, Mike (January 16, 2014). "Mayor Parker marries longtime partner". Houston Chronicle. Houston, Texas: Hearst Newspapers, LLC. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  32. Turner, Allan (December 27, 2013). "Source: Parker, partner plan January wedding". Houston Chronicle. Houston, Texas: Hearst Corporation. Retrieved December 28, 2013. Mayor Annise Parker and her partner of 23 years, Houston tax preparer Kathy Hubbard, are planning to marry, a source close to the couple said Friday.
  33. Melanie Lawson (March 29, 2015). "Houston Mayor Annise Parker Talks About Marriage, Children". Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  35. Snyder, Mike. "East Montrose retains flavor after gentrification" (Archive). Houston Chronicle. Sunday May 12, 2002. Retrieved on November 12, 2015. "The design of many of the new townhomes discourages interaction with neighbors, said City Councilwoman Annise Parker, who has lived in East Montrose for more than 11 years."
  36. "City of Houston General Election - November 4, 2003" (PDF). Election Information and Results - Office of the City Secretary. The City of Houston. p. 3. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  37. "City of Houston Runoff Election - December 6, 2003" (PDF). Election Information and Results - Office of the City Secretary. The City of Houston. p. 1. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  38. "City of Houston Runoff Election - November 3, 2009" (PDF). Election Information and Results, Office of the City Secretary. The City of Houston. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  39. "City of Houston Runoff Election - December 12, 2009" (PDF). Election Information and Results, Office of the City Secretary. The City of Houston. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  40. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 14, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
Political offices
Preceded by
Bill White
Mayor of Houston
Succeeded by
Sylvester Turner
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