Houston Mayor Annise Parker has won seventh place in the annual World Mayor Prize organized by the City Mayors Foundation, an international think tank dedicated to promoting good, open and honest local government.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized for doing what I love for a city that I dearly love," Parker tells CultureMap in a email. "Being mayor of Houston is the best political job in the world. It provides the opportunity to shape the future of one of the great American cities. I am humbled that others view this work as worthy of being right up there with the accomplishments of my mayoral colleagues around the world.”
Parker made the cut to the top 26 nominees in December 2014, along with her North American counterparts Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, who ending up taking first-place honors; Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett; and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson. The World Mayor Jury just announced the Top 10 winners from 2014 who stood out in terms of public support, achievements and excellence of tributes from their citizens. The prize, established in 2004, is awarded every two years.
"I am humbled that others view this work as worthy of being right up there with the accomplishments of my mayoral colleagues around the world.”
Citizens worldwide voted for their respective mayors by emailing their kudos to the World Mayor Prize explaining why their favorites should win.
Some city leaders in the contest represent large metropolitan areas, while others are mayors of much smaller towns, so to balance the number of "votes" the jury primarily based its decision on the arguments and persuasiveness of the testimonials bestowed on the candidates.
The World Mayor Jury offered its own summary of the thousands of emailed vouchers from Parkers's supporters in the contest:
"Annise Parker should be 2014 World Mayor because of her adept balancing of social and economic issues while making significant progress on both during her three terms as mayor of my hometown, Houston, Texas, USA. Her policies, which enabled the city to remain fiscally healthy during the worst of the recent recession, set the stage for the tremendous economic growth Houston enjoys today. Meanwhile, she champions human rights issues such as by being a pioneer — first openly-gay mayor of a major city — and a role model."
Citizens' tributes to Parker included such submissions as:
Comment: "Annise Parker is a strong outstanding woman who has over come so much but still able to be the best she can be no matter what! She deserves this more than anyone!"
Comment: "Mayor Parker is proof that Houston is more than a conservative, old-guard ruled city. Houston is a progressive and cosmopolitan city full of open-minded and open-hearted individuals. She is a strong leader, a woman who loves her city and represents it well. HOUSTON LOVES MAYOR PARKER!!"
Comment: "Annise Parker should be chosen as World’s Best Mayor because throughout her three terms as Mayor, she has never worked toward the goal of being reelected as Mayor, but rather she works toward doing what is best for the future of the City of Houston."
The complete Top 10 World Mayor rankings:
1. Naheed Nenshi, Calgary
2. Daniël Termont, Ghent, Belgium
3. Tri Rismaharini, Surabaya, Indonesia
4. Carlos Ocariz, Sucre, Venezuela
5. Jed Patrick Mabilog, Iloilo City, Philippines
6. Albrecht Schröter, Jena, Germany
7. Annise Parker, Houston
8. Yiannis Boutaris, Thessaloniki, Greece
9. Giusy Nicolini, Lampedusa, Italy
10. Aziz Kocaoglu, Izmir, Turkey