Annise Parker made headlines in 2010 when she became the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city. What perplexed onlookers outside of Texas was that Houston, of all places, should be the city to win such a distinction. It didn’t surprise Parker, however. The 20-year veteran of the oil and gas industry has spent her mayorship working to overcome regional stereotypes and make Houston a model of progressive policy on such issues as immigration, green energy and — most personally for a woman who adopted her son off the streets — homelessness. Writer Anna Clark looks back at Parker’s time in office to see how her thoroughly Texan brand of pragmatic progressivism won over a stubbornly individualistic city.
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