By Mary Alys Cherry
Houston businessman Bill King formally launched his mayoral campaign with a series of town hall meetings in various neighborhoods across the city Feb. 9-15.
The former mayor of Kemah, who narrowly lost by less than 4,000 votes to Mayor Sylvester Turner in the 2016 Houston mayoral runoff, reportedly the closest race in Houston mayoral history, said he was using these town halls “to begin the conversation about cleaning up City Hall and getting the city back to delivering the basic municipal services every resident is entitled to expect — trash pick-up, good roads and neighborhood policing.”
“It’s time to imagine a city where the streets are paved, the trash is picked up on time, homes don’t flood, there are more police officers patrolling our neighborhoods and where the politicians work for the people and not special interests,” King said. “Houston is the city that put a man on the moon. Don’t tell me we can’t have decent streets, good drainage, and a balanced budget. We do not have to settle for what we are currently getting from city government today.”
The campaign will center on cleaning up the pay-to-play system at City Hall, which will allow city government to refocus its efforts back on delivering the basic services all Houstonians expect and deserve for the tax dollars they pay, he said.
NINE TOWN HALLS
As part of his kickoff, he hosted nine town hall meetings in every corner of Houston — in Sunnyside, East End/5th Ward, Spring Branch, Kingwood and Clear Lake. Meetings are also scheduled in Meyerland, Memorial and Timbergrove.
“Houstonians are hard-working, generous and resilient and the people are what make Houston the greatest city in the country,” King added. “But we have a city government that has failed to live up to what residents deserve, and it’s time for a change. Let’s clean up City Hall and get back to basics.”
Nothing has gotten better in the last four years, he said at one town hall.
“The truth is we have a city government that doesn’t live up to the people that live in it. I’m telling you right now, we’re going to change that once and for all,” he said at another.
King joins the incumbent Turner and Houston attorney Tony Buzbee in the race for mayor. Buzbee announced his candidacy a week before King. Election day is Nov. 5, 2019.
NATIVE OF AREA
Bill is a life-long resident of the Houston area. He was born and raised in the Clear Lake area, attending Clear Creek High School before going on to the University of Houston to earn an undergraduate degree in political science and his law degree.
In 1996, he was elected to the Kemah City Council and later served as mayor of Kemah from 2001-2005.
He has enjoyed a varied career as a businessman and a lawyer. He began his career with a turbulent, and ultimately unsuccessful, foray in the savings & loan industry in the 1980s. His experience in that industry is retold in his 2009 book, Saving Face. Later in his career, he served as the national managing partner for Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, as president of Southwest Airport Services, Inc. and of counsel to Bracewell & Giuliani. He also was an editorial page columnist for 10 years for the Houston Chronicle.