Houston Mayor Annise Parker Shares Her Story at UH

Speaking to a UH English class about running for office as a gay candidate, Houston Mayor Annise Parker said the biggest surprise following her election was the amount of media attention concerning her sexuality.

Parker, who took office in January, spoke to Maria Gonzalez's English 4341 Queer Theory class about her campaign and her first few months in office.

"I have been in office for 12 years," Parker said, referring to her previous positions on the city council and as city controller. "Nobody cared for 12 years. And then, suddenly, with my election as mayor ... I have been fielding media inquiries from all languages."

The key to success in her recent mayoral campaign and all of her previous campaigns has been ensuring that her image did not distract from her message, she said.

"Running a political campaign is a marketing exercise. You've got a singular product, and that is yourself and your ideas," Parker said. "How you package those ideas so that people will receive them is important."

Following her brief remarks, Parker fielded questions from students, ranging from concerns about Metro rail lines to questions about the homeless.