Former Houston mayor to lead national group dedicated to electing LGBTQ candidates.
By John Wright
The announcement was made Friday morning, Dec. 8, during the organization’s International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., where current CEO Aisha Moodie-Mills said she is stepping down and that Parker will replace her.
Speaking by phone from the conference, Parker told OutSmart that the move “happened quickly,” after she received a phone call last week.
“I have a passion for this work, and the stars aligned,” she said.
Parker said when she received the call, she had already announced her resignation from BakerRipley, the Houston-based community development nonprofit where she serves as senior vice president and chief strategy officer. She will assume her new role effective Monday, Dec. 11.
But she added that she does not plan to move away from Houston, where she became the first openly LGBTQ person elected mayor of a major U.S. city in 2009.
“The headquarters is here [in Washington], and I’m going to be spending a lot of time here, but my work as CEO is going to be across the country,” Parker said. “This was an opportunity to do work I love for an organization that has been extremely supportive of me over the years, and I think now more than ever, we need to refocus on electing LGBT candidates, because we see how easily and quickly the tremendous gains we’ve made can be reversed.”
Parker said she considered running as a Democrat for Harris County judge in 2018, but opted against it after incumbent Ed Emmett announced he would seek re-election.
She also considered running for statewide office, including governor, and would not rule out a return to politics as a candidate in the future.
“I will not be running myself in 2018,” Parker said. “We have Lupe Valdez running for governor. The party’s in good hands there. I may have more political races.”
h/t: Washington Blade