Annise Parker completed her string of debate victories last night by decisively winning the fourth and final mayoral candidate TV debate.
Facing three of her opponents on Channel 11, KHOU-TV, Parker demonstrated her superior knowledge and experience as the only candidate with clear, concise answers to questions from the panel of four reporters.
On the question of adding police cadet classes, Parker said she would bring into the department state-certified graduates of other programs, such as those at Houston Community College.
Asked how the candidates would increase recycling, Parker pointed to programs she’s helped create that have already increased recycling: single-stream recycling, separate pick up for green organic heavy trash and recycling programs at Houston’s sports stadiums.
On the issue of flooding in Houston, Parker explained she would do a watershed by watershed analysis of drainage problems and begin tackling the problem.
To the question of what have been current Mayor Bill White’s biggest mistakes and what would you do differently, Parker said White should not have used borrowed money to pay current pension obligations, he should have brought more stakeholders into his decision-making and he should have used more economic incentives to bring businesses to Houston, which Parker said she would do.
Asked about the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Parker said she would clean house with a new Board and new administration, have her transition team look closely at Metro’s books and require Metro to post its budget and meetings online.
On the question of solving problems women have in the Houston Fire Department, Parker said she would resolve the current harassment case, recruit more women and establish mentoring programs.
None of the other three candidates could match Parker for specific answers to the tough questions. As with the previous three TV debates, Parker was the clear winner – capping a week of events that demonstrates her momentum moving into the final week of the campaign. The day before the debate, Parker announced the endorsement of State Representative Garnet Coleman – a powerful voice in national, state and local government and a particularly key endorsement in the Houston mayor’s race. And the Houston Chronicle reported that Parker is outspending her opponent Gene Locke on television and is winning the social media campaign with more supporters than all her opponents combined.
As Houston City Controller, Annise Parker directs Houston’s financial investments and manages billions of tax dollars. Her independent audits of city departments and programs have rooted out waste and saved the city money that can be used for priorities such as police, after-school programs and economic development. A businesswoman and neighborhood leader, Parker served on City Council for six years. She spent 20 years in the oil and gas industry before entering public service.