New Houston Councilmembers Unlikely to Shake Up City Hall

Five Houston City Council races were decided on Saturday during the run-off election. Now that all the council seats are confirmed, one political analyst says Mayor Annise Parker's last term shouldn't be too difficult.

The run-off races ousted two incumbents, Helena Brown and Andrew Burks, from their seats. A third incumbent, Al Hoang, also lost his seat back in November. Between the November election and the run-off election, a total of six new councilmembers will take office on January 2nd.

University of Houston Political Science Associate Professor Brandon Rottinghaus says there won't be many obstructionist councilmembers trying to block Mayor Parker.

"In general I think that you don't see any real serious obstacle, at least in terms of personalities, for the mayor into her last term. And so there's probably some small net gain for her, given the personnel."

The one outlier could be bail bondsman Michael Kubosh, who successfully sued the City of Houston over its use of red light cameras.

As for what the next two years will hold, Rottinghaus predicts Mayor Parker will spend her final term working on pension reform, a particularly divisive issue.

"Which is a serious negotiation amongst very entrenched interests. But it may in fact be that, given that Mayor Parker is leaving office, this could be a time for her and the very last thing that she does, to be able to put things into motion to get this to work. And so I think that in some ways, her positioning gives her some extended ability to get this job done."

Rottinghaus says Rebuild Houston's ongoing street and drainage projects will also be a high priority in Parker's final term.

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...