Annise Parker, fresh out of Houston's City Hall for the first time in 18 years, isn't content to just navigate snowstorms and stay in school. Now she will chair a new LGBT advisory panel for national Democrats.
The Democratic National Committee named Parker – the first openly gay person elected mayor of a major U.S. City – as one of two co-chairs of its LGBT Advisory Board. The panel works with the DNC on LGBT equality, identifying local LGBT issues and getting gay voters engaged and to the polls.
Parker, just three months past the overwhelming defeat of an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance that she championed, said the lessons she learned during three terms as mayor fighting for LGBT equality – and against anti-gay Republicans – will help her work with the advisory board.
“During the fight to pass the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance in my own city, the despicable depiction of transgender people showed us how far our opponents will go to stop progress on protecting the rights of LGBT Americans,” Parker said in a prepared statement. “We see anti-LGBT pieces of legislation from Congress to local councils blocking equal rights, promoting discrimination under the guise of religious speech, and blocking transgender people from going to the restroom.”
Even those bruises from the HERO fight will help, Parker said.
“The DNC’s LGBT Advisory Board will give us new opportunities to elevate local battles like HERO and to share strategies across communities about way to organize and win. I look forward to using the lessons learned in Houston to help lead this effort,” she added.
Parker will chair the panel with HIV activist Rev. José Román, who has worked with several LGBT organizations in New York City. The panel is accepting applications to fill its roster, which DNC officials said will include representatives from all 50 states. Apply here.
Parker, who has hinted that she's not done with public life in Houston, is currently a visiting fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics. But she nearly didn't arrive on time after getting sheltered in place during a snowstorm in Washington, D.C. And don't even ask about those smoke alarms in her new digs.