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ANNISE PARKER

Annise Parker made history on December 12, 2009, by becoming the first openly lesbian mayor of a major U.S. city. Most outside Houston did not then know, however, that she had already won six successive city-wide elections. After winning her first City Council At-Large Position 1 through a runoff in 1997, she retained that seat in 1999 and 2001 without a runoff. In 2003, she was elected City Controller, a position she retained in 2005 and 2007, both times unopposed.

Since her historic election as Mayor, Houston voters have returned her to that office twice -- once on November 8, 2011, and again to a third and final term on November 5, 2013 -- both times without a runoff.

Before her career as a public servant, Parker graduated from Rice University in 1978, and worked as a software analyst in the oil industry while maintaining strong ties with various Houston community organizations. In 1988, Pokey Anderson and Parker started the alternative bookstore Inklings at 1846 Richmond. Parker also was president of both the Houston GLBT Political Caucus from 1986 to 1987, and the Neartown Civic Association from 1995 to 1997. Perhaps most importantly, in 1990, Parker met the woman who would eventually become her domestic partner, Kathy Hubbard.

While Parker has endeavored to serve all of Houston in each public office she has held, her high-profile career is also seen as a signal achievement for Houston's LGBT community. As journalist Brandon Wolf writes, Parker "represents the sea-change that has occurred in Houston during the last few decades. The Police Department that once raided gay bars with impunity now reports to a lesbian. That same department whose harassment of LGBT citizens led to ruined careers and reputations a few generations ago is now tasked with protecting the life of a lesbian mayor at all costs, even if it means sacrificing their own lives."

On January 16, 2014, Annise Parker and Kathy Hubbard were married in Palm Springs, California.