Fernando Herrera Runs for Houston Mayor

A Houston Fire Department deputy chief is throwing his hat in the ring to run against Annise Parker in the upcoming mayoral election. As Laurie Johnson reports — Fernando Herrera is the first person to publicly oppose the city's incumbent mayor.

Herrera is a 30-year veteran of the Houston Fire Department and a Houston native.

He's also the first serious, albeit relatively unknown, candidate to oppose Mayor Annise Parker.

He says he's running because he believes that Houston can be managed differently.

"We should have a simple ABC approach. Absolute, Beneficial and Convenient. The absolute expenditures are those things like essential services — police, fire, solid waste and some infrastructure maintenance. And then we have on the other side, convenient purchases. In times like these, we really would have very few convenient purchases. But in the middle, we have those that are beneficial. All beneficial purchases are subject to review."

Herrera announced his candidacy on the steps of City Hall, surrounded by a couple dozen friends and supporters.

He says there are more things the city could do to save money and the mayor isn't taking advantage of those opportunities to save jobs.

"If we expect Houstonians to tighter their belt, City of Houston needs to tighten its belt. This may not be the year we can have a fireworks exhibit, for example. I know we have some kind sponsors in the past that pay for maybe the fireworks, but you have to remember we still have firefighters, police officers and other city employees that may be on overtime. And those are micro-savings. But those micro-savings add up."

When asked about her opponent, Mayor Parker dismissed Herrera's candidacy, making a tongue in cheek remark about his elect-ability.

"Isn't that the guy that ran...is that the guy that ran for State Rep last time and lost? Is he having a hard time making up his mind what he wants to run for? Okay. I fully expect to have multiple opponents by the time November comes along and I'm just going to continue to do what I need to do to try to run the city in the best way I can."

Herrera did run for State Representative in District 148 and lost to incumbent Jessica Farrar.

Nancy Sims is a political analyst with Pierpont Communications. She says Herrera's challenge is his lack of name recognition and major funding.

"I think that he's going to have an uphill battle for the simple reason that he needs to raise a lot of money very quickly in order to fairly compete against an incumbent mayor with $2 million in the bank."

Sims says Herrera needs to raise at least $1 million to run an effective campaign.

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...