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Annise Parker

Petition to Repeal Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) Fails

by: Joe Deshotel

Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 05:37 PM CDT

Today Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced that a petition to repeal a nondiscrimination ordinance for the LGBT community, called HERO, has failed.

The measure passed on a vote of 11-6, but officials were prevented from enforcing the policy until the decision on the validity of the petitions were determined.

Opponents of "HERO" were attempting to get just over 17,000 valid signatures in order to force the city council to either repeal the ordinance or put the question to the voters in November.

See what Mayor Parker said about the effort to repeal HERO below the jump...


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Houston City Council Votes To Pass LGBT-Inclusive Equal Rights Ordinance

by: Omar Araiza

Thu May 29, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

Mayor Parker signing the equal rights ordinance into law
A major victory for the LGBT community and supporters of equality. Last night, Houston City Council members voted to approve Mayor Annise Parker's Equal Rights Ordinance.

The ordinance extends the city's ban on discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity, providing equal protection in employment and housing to all Houstonians.

"It is personal. It is not academic. It is my life that is being discussed," were Parker's powerful remarks on the proposed ordinance.

Responses to the news by Texas Democrats, including Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte, below the jump.

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Annise Parker Talks 'Gay Agenda', Wendy Davis, And Reclaiming Democratic Values In Inspiring Speech

by: Omar Araiza

Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

Houston Mayor Annise Parker addressed the California Democratic Party convention this weekend, providing the crowd with an inspirational speech on how Democrats win in red states, even when seemingly facing all odds against them.

But first, she thanked Californians for allowing her to marry her partner of over 23 years this January.

After taking a jab at Rick Perry and Texas Republicans, Parker, the country's first openly LGBT mayor of one of the ten largest cities in the US, dove straight into personal matters regarding LGBT equality. She thanked the state of California once again for paving the way nationally in ensuring the safety of trans children in our schools.  

"I've been a lesbian activist for 40 years, and it's hard to break a habit," said Parker. "And I have been saying for 40 years, there is no such thing as the gay agenda. But I'm here to tell you that that is not true. There is a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender agenda, and I'm going to tell you what it is."

"We want to be able to go to school in safety. We want to be able to serve our country honorably. We want to be able to work at jobs we love so that we can pay taxes to the country that sustains us," continued saying Parker. "And we want to protect the relationships and families that nurture us. That is the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender agenda."

Parker went on to describe how Democrats like herself have won major victories in red states. And, how despite facing the same obstacles, Wendy Davis can ultimately become our next governor of Texas. Parker also argued that as Democrats, we need to reclaim back from Republicans important values that are true to our party's core -- those of faith, family values, and freedom -- because we are the party that respects and upholds these values, not the Republican Party.

Her full speech in video below the jump.

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Officials Call On GOP Congressmen Pete Olson, John Carter And Bill Flores To Support Immigration

by: Omar Araiza

Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:26 AM CDT

Wrapping up their tour stops in Texas this week, immigration reform group, Fast for Families Across America, held a press conference yesterday morning in Temple and Waco with elected officials and constituents belonging to districts represented by GOP Congressmen John Carter (R-Round Rock) and Bill Flores (R-Bryan), calling on the two Republican representatives to make it their mission this year to finally pass immigration reform.

The group and officials chose the congressmen because their constituents have shown to support immigration reform, and because of the members' influence in the House.

Flores previously linked passing reform to "building a sandwich," yet has failed to do his part by advocating his support.

Carter, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, said earlier this year in an interview he believed Republican elections were more important than passing immigration reform. He said this despite having previously belonged to a House bipartisan group attempting to negotiate a bill.

Read more of the group's efforts below the jump, including a stop in Houston attended by Mayor Annise Parker and Texas state Senator Sylvia Garcia.

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Texas Values: Greg Abbott "Stands Up Against Lesbian Mayor" Annise Parker

by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM CST

UPDATED This post has been updated as of 11:45am to include the response of Mayor Parker to attacks on her marriage.

When I read the tweet, "@TxValues: AG @GregAbbott_TX stands up against lesbian Houston Mayor in briefs," the first thing I thought was, "put some pants on Greg!" But, of course there is so much more wrong with this. It clearly uses the term "lesbian" as a pejorative, otherwise Texas Values would have referred to, "heterosexual AG Greg Abbott," or simply and respectfully referred to Parker as Mayor.

Marriage equality has made tremendous progress in the past year and it, dare I say, threatens to come to Texas. Abbott hasn't had the best of luck in the courtroom lately against the federal government, so this time he is arguing that it doesn't even have jurisdiction to hear these cases.

Mayor Parker has pushed for the City of Houston to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states for purposes of spousal benefits. Suggesting she did this simply because she is "an open lesbian," is not only crude but ignores the fact that most Texans support, by a large margin, extending benefits to same-sex partners of government employees. According to a poll taken last year by Equality Texas, "65.7% of voters support extending domestic partnership benefits to government/public university employees; an increase of 3.4%" over a similar poll taken in 2010. The poll also found a 5.2% increase in support for full marriage equality; transforming a 52% majority against into a 47.9% plurality for.

See more on Abbott's continued assault on local control and the response from Mayor Parker below the jump...

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South Texas Mayor Raul Reyes Joins Julian Castro And Annise Parker In Support Of Marriage Equality

by: Omar Araiza

Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM CST

Raul Reyes, Mayor of El Cenizo
Yet another mayor of Texas has come out in support of marriage equality, joining the group, Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.

Mayor of El Cenizo, Raul Reyes, came out in support of marriage equality this month, becoming just the seventh mayor in Texas to do so. Other leaders in the group are Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio and Mayor Annise Parker of Houston, who are among the co-chairs of the group.

"You don't have to be gay to sympathize with reality, and reality is that any Texan or any American in general should be allowed to choose who they want to spent their life with," Reyes said to Lone Star Q in an interview.

"And government, whether it be state or federal, should not dictate who they can be with. I think Texas sends a very wrong message to the rest of the country, when one of the most important states in the nation hasn't caught up to other states."

Read more below the jump, including the personal connection Reyes has to the LGBT community.

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Houston Mayor Annise Parker Not Coy About Intentions To Run Statewide In 2018

by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 00:00 PM CST

Annise Parker, fresh off reelection to her 3rd term as Houston Mayor, told Lone Star Q she is eyeing a future run for statewide office possibly in 2018. As fired up as Texas Democrats are right now, the state will not turn blue without recruiting top tier candidates, so you can mark this announcement as another progressive victory of 2013.

Parker is an experienced campaigner who first honed her chops on Houston City Council in 1997 before being elected to 3 terms as City Comptroller starting in 2003. Now, in her final term as Mayor she is no stranger to headlines and continues to rattle the Conservative establishment far beyond Houston's city limits.

Find out what position Mayor Parker may be considering along with the full interview below the jump...

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Payday Lenders' Money In Houston Municipal Runoffs Puts Reform at Risk

by: Shelby Alexander

Thu Dec 12, 2013 at 05:00 PM CST

Houston's new payday lending reform ordinance, pushed by the recently re-elected Mayor Annise Parker, is on shaky ground.

Depending on the results of the municipal runoff election this Saturday, the future of the ordinance could change significantly.

The plan, which would make Houston the fifth major city in Texas to pass such regulations, aims to protect consumers by establishing minimum standard business practices to prevent abuse from payday lending institutions.

The future of this ordinance will be especially more difficult to predict because payday lenders are giving much-needed cash to runoff candidates who are preventing payday lending reform from happening.

With five of the races going into runoffs, there are two main races who the payday lending industry has invested their money in. Andrew Burks is one of them, who tagged the ordinance at this week's Houston City Council meeting, which throws off the trajectory of the ordinance, likely pushing it into the new year in which a new City Council will be in place. This procedural shake-up makes uncertain the fate of the ordinance and allows payday lenders to continue preying on low-income Houston residents, whose interest rates often exceed 500 percent APR, trapping people in a cycle of debt.

Curtailing the efforts of predatory lenders has grown to be high-profile cause for progressives, which is why we have seen reforms pass in some of Texas' bluest cities. Legislators -- including Senator Wendy Davis -- have worked for years to cap and limit payday lenders and helped make some of the biggest steps forward for reform in Texas this past legislative session.

However, because of the payday lending industry's strong investment in legislators, statewide reform was defeated-- and the same powers are at play in Houston.

Read who payday lenders are investing in below the jump.

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Mayor Annise Parker Introduces Consumer Protections Against Abuses By Payday Lenders

by: Shelby Alexander

Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 10:00 AM CST

Joining Austin, Dallas, El Paso, and San Antonio, Houston is on track to become the fifth major city in Texas to pass tighter restrictions on the payday and auto-title loan industry. Mayor Anise Parker's recently revealed regulations for payday lending reflects the minimum standard business practices for payday lending institutions that have passed in other cities as means to prevent borrowers from being trapped in a cycle of debt.

Many interest rates for payday loans, when including fees, often exceed 500 percent APR. With support from numerous advocacy groups, Mayor Annise Parker joins other municipalities who have taken the initiative in light of inaction from our State Legislature to rein in high-cost, small-dollar loans offered to individuals without credit checks, which frequently preys upon low-income Texans.

Progressive leaders have been working overtime to protect consumers while Republicans have allowed the payday lending industry take between $800 million and $1.1 billion in excess fee charges from Texas families.

Read more below the jump.

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Hungry Texans Are About to Get Even Hungrier

by: Emily Cadik

Sun Sep 08, 2013 at 09:00 AM CDT

Today Houston Mayor Annise Parker is taking on the Food Stamp Challenge, which means she will spend no more than $4 on all of her meals for the day. $4 is the average amount that a person enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or "food stamps") receives each day, and the challenge is intended to build understanding and awareness of just how little SNAP recipients actually receive.

As Mayor Parker pointed out, "One nice coffee at Starbucks will blow your SNAP budget for the day." But over 4 million Texans who rely on these benefits aren't just forgoing the pumpkin spice lattes - they're making meals for themselves and their families for an entire day on an amount many of us are accustomed to spending on an afternoon snack.

And soon they'll be getting by on even less.

Read about expiring food stamp benefits and hunger in Texas after the jump.

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