January 03, 2010

Interview with Houston Mayor-Elect Annise Parker

Houtson's gay news magazine, OutSmart, has an in-depth interview with Houston mayor-elect Annise Parker.  Here's an excerpt:

“The biggest change in my life is that I’ve already been assigned a security detail,” Parker notes. “I now have an entourage of security people, and I’m not used to having people around me all the time, everywhere I go.

“This isn’t the regular security detail that each mayor has,” Parker says. “This is the Dignitary Protection Unit. Mine is very heavy right now because of the unprecedented level of media attention, which is worldwide and off the charts. I’ve been traveling all over the city of Houston for years, and during 12 years in office, there was never a place that I have gone that I haven’t felt safe and welcomed. But we are aware that there are nut-balls out there, so the security is high at this point, until we can see how things shake out.

“I haven’t driven my own car since Election Day morning. It’s going to make it harder to do those personal errands—picking up the dry cleaning or stopping into the grocery store. And I won’t be able to hang out at Southland Hardware!”
“Clearly I am ‘out,’” Parker notes. “I didn’t think anyone would be voting for me who didn’t know that I was out. For 12 years, that was part of what people knew about me, but not what people thought about me. Now we are back to a phase where everyone is focusing on the gay issue again.

“The ‘smart’ part comes when I get through the inauguration and take the reins of government. People will see how I’ve crafted a team and put it into place. This is a tough time to become mayor of Houston because of the economy. But I intend to run a tight ship, and the results that my team gets will be the answer.”

Parker is excited that she will be seeing her sister Alison who lives in Georgia and several nieces and nephews at the inauguration on January 4, 2010, along with her mother, Kay. She also knows that Fred Phelps will be demonstrating against her during the swearing-in ceremony at the Wortham Center.

“There are two signs that you’ve made it in America,” says Parker. “The first is if you’re picketed by Fred Phelps. And the second is if you’re the subject of a joke on The Jay Leno Show.” She chuckles as she repeats the Leno joke: “There is a new lesbian mayor in Houston—and she is the only woman who has been in the media the last two weeks who hasn’t slept with Tiger Woods.”

With her eyes clearly set on the tasks ahead, Parker says, “I am looking forward to the time when we get past the ‘oh-my-gosh-the-gay-mayor-of-Houston’ and I can just be ‘a great mayor’ for the city of Houston.”
There's mush more of the interview, click here to read it.

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