HOUSTON (AP) - The day after Houston voters chose Annise Parker to become the city's first openly gay mayor, she did as she had throughout a contentious, hard-fought campaign: She focused on the brick-and-mortar realities of running the country's fourth largest city.
Parker told a news conference today about her transition team, her plans to change the running of the Houston Police Department and the financial constraints the city faces.
Then the 53-year-old mayor-elect reflected on the significance of the election, which made Houston the largest U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor.
She called it "a historic election for my community, and I believe an election that will change some people's minds about the city of Houston." She added that Houston's "a diverse, international city that welcomes everyone."
Parker, who began her political career as a gay activist, rose through the ranks of local politics to serve first on city council, then as city controller. She defeated former city attorney Gene Locke, 61, with 53.6 percent of the vote Saturday in a race that had a turnout of only 16.5 percent. Locke had hoped to become the city's second black mayor.