Parker for Congress?

Bear with me here. I think Annise Parker is going to run for Congress, in the eighteenth district, most likely in 2016. If Sheila Jackson Lee runs again in 2016, she would be 67 by the time she’d take office, and would have been in office for 22 years. Parker, on the other hand would be 59, and still with a strong zeal and spirit. I don’t know if Parker could win the African American dominated district, but I am somewhat confident she will at least try. Here’s why:

1. Parker spent her first term trying to follow the tradition of Bill White, making everyone happy. She kept White’s style of business, moderating on budget issues and steering clear of big issues. However, the sheer extremism of the Texas GOP wants to run her out on a rail simply because of sexual orientation. That whole thing about whether or not Obama’s detractors are motivated by racism is up in the air, but I am absolutely confident that Parker’s major detractors are motivated by homophobia. However, when she was re-elected, against virtual nobodies, it was not by any means by large margins. White was re-elected with 91% of the vote, Parker had about 51%. Parker has now taken to a more Lee Brown-esque style, pandering to the left. Among her left-leaning accomplishments for the second term have been being less confrontational with occupiers, appearing on the Colbert Report, speaking out against racist hpd officers, and taking standing on national issues, such as marriage equality. Doing this, made Parker hated by the right and loved by the left. Luckily for her, there are a whole lot more people on the left in Houston.

Specifically, Parker has seemed to try to appeal to the African-American community. That whole thing about Bloomberg (the HPD officer who beat up the kid) really solidified this belief for me. Parker stood with African-American pastors and declared she did not agree with the verdict and that “They will never again be Houston police officers whatever the verdict is in the criminal trial”. This is major leftward shuffling for someone like Parker who wants higher office.

2. Parker has established that she has aspirations for higher office. However, as we have discussed, Texas will probably not go blue in the Governor’s office until 2018 and not the other statewide offices until 2020 or 2022. Parker’s terms at City Hall run out on the first day of 2016. 2016 is therefore the year she would run.

So if SJL retires for 2016, there will be A LOT of candidates very interested. To name a few: Rodney Ellis, Sylvia Garcia, C.O. Bradford, Jarvis Johnson, and Sylvester Turner. Parker could have the advantage of great name recognition and connections with the business interests. Further, TX-18 is not as strongly African-American as it always ways. I believe last I checked there are more Latinos, which if they rallied behind Parker, could defeat the African American interest’s candidate.

But it’s an off day on news, and the farther you get from the present the more outlandish the claims become.

Ernest McGowen, 1925-2012

Ernest McGowen, Sr., the second African-American elected to the Houston City Council and the father of the city’s Affirmative Action program, died at the age of 87 on Sunday.

McGowen was the first Councilmember for the northern District B, being first elected in 1980 after a successful lawsuit brought single member districts to Houston (something our Austinite friends are still fighting for) and stayed until term limits forced him out in 1994. He was a major advocate during the Whitmire Administration for increased affirmative action programs. Among his accomplishments were being the sponsor of the MWBE program (minority and woman-owned business enterprise), writing the ordinance prohibiting support of apartheid South Africa, supporting striking Sanitation Workers, and helping to establish MLK day as a city holiday.

Former City Councilmember Anthony Hall, State Senator Rodney Ellis, and U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who all served with McGowen on the Council, commended McGowen’s record and lauded his memory.

RIP Councilmember. I was always remember him as a pioneer, a hero, and a fighter always for what is right.

The Houston Chronicle has the full story.