What made you decide to run for office?
I am a proud Houstonian, I was born at Spring Branch Hospital. I was raised to believe you should contribute to your community through service, so it has always been a part of my life. My engagement started by volunteering with my neighborhood civic club and super neighborhood. I went on to be the President of one of the largest super neighborhoods in Houston and also served as the President of a civic club with over 1,000 homes. I have also served as board member in area hospitals, Chambers of Commerce and other non-profits.
After serving in these various roles, it was a natural progression to run for Houston City Council. Having already worked with the city council and Mayor, I was able to hit the ground running when I won my election.
How long have you been in office?
I am currently in my eighth year on the Houston City Council. I have served two, two-year terms and now am ending a four-year term. Voters voted to change from two-year terms to four-year terms in 2015. I have worked with former Mayor Annise Parker, and now Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Why did you specifically choose to run for Houston City Council?
Serving the community where I was raised just made sense for me, today I represent former teachers, classmates and friends I grew up with. I also worked with my predecessor and had her support to run for District A when it became an open seat.
Do you think more REALTORS® should run for office?
Absolutely! As a REALTOR® you are already civically engaged, masterful at networking, building a sphere of influence and know how to interact with people on a personal level. Most politicians are purely transactional, REALTORS® are service driven and their focus is on the client. This translates well to focusing on constituents.
Additionally, you know how to analyze and evaluate areas to build stronger communities which is critical when dealing with infrastructure and housing issues at the local level.
Policies created by local, state and federal governments directly impact the “pocketbooks” of real estate professionals. It is critical to get involved.
What is something you wish you had known before becoming an elected official?
I wish I would have known how much being a woman would impact the way people dealt with me. Before becoming a REALTOR®, I spent many years in the banking industry. Banking is more of a numbers game and is diverse. However, on City Council I deal with a lot of men, from engineers to real estate developers. I have been in conversations where I am tuned out and I must speak up and remind them I am the decision maker for my district. I have embraced these types of challenges and learned to be upfront with people and not be a victim.
What is your biggest accomplishment on city council at this point in your tenure?
When I took office, District A was plagued with abandoned apartment complexes which posed a danger to nearby residents. Many of them were havens for illegal activity. Since 2010, I have worked with my colleagues at council and at the Texas Legislature to shutdown a total of nine blighted apartment buildings. Six of those buildings were completely torn down, and now serve as beautiful green space.
What is something interesting you would like readers to know?
I am fluent in sign language. I had a deaf colleague I worked with at a bank and I wanted to learn to work better with him. I met with our CEO and asked to be able to take classes so I could learn to effectively communicate with my colleague. I signed up for classes at HCC, learned sign language and was able to train my colleague to do non-phone work and he eventually went on to get promoted to a better position.