What Obama Means for Houston

One of the major themes of Barack Obama's campaign was CHANGE. He's promised to change everything from the war in Iraq to our nation's education system. But what does it all mean for Houstonians? Bill Stamps spoke with some political analysts to find out.
Change, change,  change. It can be good or bad depending on what's being changed and whether it needed changing in the first place. University of Houston Political Science professors Nancy Sims and Richard Murray say the biggest employers in this area come from the oil, transportation and medical field…and then of course NASA. All of those could be affected now that we'll have a new Democratic President.

Nancy Sims: "For Houston I think one of the things that we would see a lot more focus on are alternative energy sources. So since we're the energy capitol of the world, I think that we'll see a lot of focus on alternative energy, and securing available energy today."

During his campaign Obama talked a lot about eliminating the breaks big oil companies receive. Murray says that could impact Houston as well.

"They'll be a little bit of battening down the hatch at ExxonMobile and some of the other big players in Houston, because mostly they went with the other guy. They will be extended some in their efforts to avoid cutbacks on benefits that they gotten under the Bush-Chaney administration and this will be probably a chiller climate in Washington to operate"   

Another big player here is NASA.

"He's committed to the space station, but he's been concerned about the budget levels for NASA funding. Any impact to the space program has a trickle effect across the city."

Meaning…any budget cuts would be felt by the city. Having just had one of our worst storms ever, Murray says what Obama plans to do with FEMA should be a concern to Houston.

"Well, Bill Clinton took over FEMA when it was in bad shape and substantially improved its performance by most accounts. And then it slipped back, particularly the five years before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and Rita side-swiped Houston. I think an Obama administration will be trying to probably beef that agency up."

Of course one of the first thing's on Obama's plate is this financial mess- and what he does with that figures to impact everyone.

Bill Stamps. KUHF Houston Public Radio.