Houston Mayor Says City Future is Strong

Houston's economy and future remain strong. That's according to Mayor Annise Parker who addressed nearly two thousand people at the annual State of the City luncheon. As Laurie Johnson reports — the mayor's speech focused on her achievements during her first year in office.
Mayor Annise Parker gave her speech to elected officials and business members of the Greater Houston Partnership.

She did not make many new promises or announcements, choosing instead to highlight the work her administration has done over the past year.

She did acknowledge the year ahead will be tougher and require more sacrifices.

"We have more pain to live through before that brighter tomorrow comes. But the goal of every tough decision we make is that it be fiscally responsible with an eye toward that better future. There is no short-term thinking in this city hall."

Parker reminded those in attendance that city revenues won't pick up until the business community starts hiring. To that end, she's implemented a Hire Houston First policy at the city, which gives preference to local businesses and contractors.

"There is an executive order awaiting my signature which will mandate the selection of the local business when all else in a competitive bid process is equal. And we are also pursuing legislation in Austin that would take this executive order a step further toward an even stronger local preference policy."

The mayor covered a broad range of topics in her speech, making note of a 7.3 percent reduction in violent crime in the first two months of this year, as well as advances in customer service and neighborhood protection policies.

She says a year ago she pledged to confront problems head on — not knowing at the time that the hardest thing would be the budget.

"We have dealt with that too, without raising taxes, without resorting again to pension obligation bonds and without compromising critical city services."

In an allusion to her bid for reelection, Parker says she intends to keep working on these issues for another four and a half years saying she needs to be mayor because she's not done yet.

Parker says some of her priorities for the future include an independent regional crime lab, pension reform and the support and promotion of the Johnson Space Center and NASA. 

Listen to the mayor's entire speech:

 

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...