Houstonians re-elect Mayor Parker

November 9, 2011 4:16:02 PM PST
Houstonians on Tuesday re-elected Mayor Annise Parker for a second term, but sent two incumbent city council members to a run-off election.

Mayor Parker, who was facing five challengers in the race, led the pack with 51 percent of the votes. On Tuesday night, Parker claimed victory.

"I want to thank the voters of Houston for giving me two more years in a job that I love," Parker told her supporters at her watch party at Minute Maid Park. "I am still excited to go to work every day."

Some council races will be headed for a December 10 runoff.

In the District A race, incumbent Brenda Stardig trailed her challenger Helena Brown by 6 percent.

In At-Large Position 5, Councilwoman Jolanda Jones has a 39-33 percent lead over Jack Christie.

To avoid a run-off election, candidates must have more than 50 percent of the votes.

"I'm not conceding that there's a run-off but if there is one, I've been in two -- I feel like 'Groundhog Day' right? It's just like 'Groundhog Day.' I've been in two run-offs and you guys did this the last time, and I won, so I'm not afraid of a run-off," Jones said.

"If it's a run-off, I think we're talking about getting our voters back out. It's gonna be telephone, it's gonna be a good mailing and talking it back up because this is an important position," Christie said.

Houston also is adding two new seats to its City Council because of an increase in population.

Mike Laster will be the council member representing the new District J, which includes communities along the Southwest Freeway between the Loop and the Beltway. It encompasses 181,000 people.

Laster spent the evening with friends at his watch party at Dave & Busters in southwest Houston. There are about 70,000 Hispanics in the district yet only an estimated 17 percent of registered voters in that district carry a Hispanic surname. Laster says he wants to represent all communities.

"I look forward to representing every community in District J regardless of where they come from, regardless of who they are because all of us have something to offer," Laster said.

Laster is a former senior assistant city attorney and has served as president of the Sharpstown Civic Association and as a board member of the Sharpstown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. Laster says it is his experience at City Hall that put him ahead of his two other opponents. Laster says he views District J as a community of opportunity and believes much of future economic growth will come through District J.

Houston also will be welcoming Larry Green as the council member representing the newly created District K, which represents part of southwest Houston, inside the Beltway and just west of Highway 288. It has 197,000 people, most of whom are black and Hispanic.

Green says he believes it's his experience that set him apart from the other two District K candidates.

"I will not let them down, I will work as hard as I always do to make sure that we ensure that we get our fair share of city resources, that we go outside of the city and look to bring in additional resources to make things happen with regards to economic development as well as the other issues that we have confronting District K," Green said.

Green is an attorney and CEO of HoustonWorks USA. He's spent all of his life in District K.

In other incumbent races, Houstonians re-elected District D Councilwoman Wanda Adams, District I Councilman James Rodriguez and District H Councilman Ed Gonzalez. Adams garnered 82 percent of the vote, while Rodriguez took 64 percent of the votes and Gonzalez claimed 68 percent of the vote.

District F Councilman Al Hoang also was re-elected after getting 56 percent of the votes and District G Councilman Oliver Pennington kept his position after earning 77 percent of the votes.

At-Large 3 Councilwoman Melissa Noriega was re-elected after receiving 56 percent of the votes, and Councilman Stephen Costello will keep his At-Large Position 1 seat after getting 51 percent of the votes with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

Only about 148,000 voters headed out to the polls Tuesday, and another 65,000 out of 1.9 million registered voters turned out for early voting, which ended Friday.

City Controller Ron Green ran unopposed.

Statewide, there are 10 constitutional amendments voters decided on. Those proposed amendments range from property taxes and bonds to governor pardons and election laws.


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