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Parker to announce for Mayor today

City Controller Annise Parker will formally announce has candidacy for Mayor today.

“Houstonians want a mayor who can lead the city through tough economic times, and a mayor who can continue our forward progress with jobs and neighborhoods,” she said in an interview last week.

“I have the skill set to do these things,” she added as she prepared her announcement — an e-mail blast referring voters to an online video of her speaking to voters.

Parker, 52, started thinking about running for mayor long before the nation’s economic picture grew dark. But now that, in her words, “the No. 1 issue is going to be the economy and jobs,” Parker is touting the ways she can cut city expenses. She’s also worked as an engineering technologist for an oil company and as co-owner several years ago of a feminist bookstore.

[…]

She has about $230,000 in leftover funds from prior campaigns and is announcing her mayoral candidacy on the first day candidates are allowed under city ordinance to raise money for the contest.

Councilman Peter Brown also is running for mayor, and others edging close to joining the race include former City Attorneys Gene Locke and Benjamin Hall III, former Gov. Mark White and Harris County Department of Education Trustee Roy Morales.

As with District H, I intend to keep an open mind for as long as possible about who my preferred choice for Mayor is. I like Parker and Brown, and I don’t really know enough about Locke or Hall or White to fairly assess their candidacies. (I’m pretty sure I won’t be voting for Roy Morales. Sorry, Roy.) Having said that, if the election were today, Annise Parker would get my vote. I think she’s got the best combination of skills and experiences. Still, I want to see how the campaign goes and how the candidates engage the issues. I want to hear what everyone has to say.

Parker got her start in local politics as a civic association president and leader of what is now the Houston Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual & Transgender Political Caucus.

Gay rights and the candidates’ personal lives have been broached as issues in most major Houston mayoral races of the last 30 years. About the voters’ mindset on those topics, Parker said, “Houstonians are interested in who can manage the city.”

She said that because of her previous campaigns, “Houstonians know me.”

I will say this: Any candidate who makes an issue of Parker’s sexuality, or who doesn’t distance himself from an ally who does, will be rejected from consideration for my vote. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, that’s how it will be.

UPDATE: The email announcing Parker’s entry into the race is out. Her website is here, complete with a blog and an announcement video that’s also available on YouTube. Email is reproduced beneath the fold.

Dear Friends:

I want you to be the first to know that it’s official: I am a candidate for Mayor of Houston. I hope you will take a moment to watch the video below and learn more about the campaign at my new website: www.AnniseParker.com .

I am proud to have worked closely with Mayor Bill White – who is not running for re-election due to term limits – and many other leaders to make progress for Houston.

I am running because I am the most qualified to lead our city through tough economic times – and to make sure Houston keeps moving ahead.

* I have a plan to create jobs , secure Houston’s future as the headquarters for new energy development and maintain fiscal responsibility . Read the plan at my website, and offer your ideas in our Houston Speaks section.

* As City Controller, I’ve used tough, independent audits to uncover millions of dollars in waste due to inefficiencies, redundancies and outright fraud. That money is now funding our police and fire departments, important after-school programs and senior centers.

* I’ve managed billions of Houston’s tax dollars – and today, Houston is in much better shape than other cities that gambled their futures on risky investments and irresponsible budgets.

I love this city. I want to make sure it stays the best place in America to live and raise a family . And in this difficult economy, our next mayor will have no room for error.

The November 3 election may seem far away, but there is much to do. That’s why I’m starting early – and asking you to join me now – so that we can make sure our city keeps moving forward.

Thank you.

Annise Parker

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