EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part one of a series of opinion stories focusing on the Houston mayoral election.
Houston needs a mayor who will not only understand constituents of this magnificent city, but has legal, financial and street smarts.
Current mayor Annise Parker, who was named one of the world’s top mayors, signed the Equal Rights Ordinance, proposed historic preservation amendments, and helped fund the creation of a human trafficking unit with the Houston Police Department.
With the quickly approaching mayoral elections, students and staff must prioritize the needs of the community and learn about the candidates.
Some candidates are far better than others, and each of them come have diverse backgrounds. Some are experts in law enforcement, while others specialize in business or engineering.
Not all of the candidates have experience with business, which so often valued for its impact on community and constituents.
McVey has this experience as a successful business executive that has founded multiple award-winning businesses in various sectors of the economy.
“I’ve been very successful in business and after turning around over sixty companies around the world, I only lost one, and you know what? That’s a pretty good track record,” said McVey.
Business in Houston is often driven a plethora of external forces. Considered an energy capital, oil more often than not, dictates the economy of the city. The Houston port, oil industry and medical center are amongst key players in maintaining a healthy economy.
The city and UH could also benefit from a mayor with more political experience.
In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed McVey as member of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. This group advises the United States Agency for International Development on issues involving agriculture and higher education in developing countries.
The UH needs a leader that will help improve campus, the surrounding area and elevate national recognition of the institution.
McVey believes in increasing federal grants, allowing for more research at UH. In turn, this would make degrees and UH education more affluent.
“The mayor, not just this mayor, but mayors in the past, have not taken an active role in making sure that the University of Houston is getting access to federal grants to do research,” McVey said.
Bell brings legal knowledge and experience that includes serving as congressman.
Where Bell lacks business knowledge and an apparent interest in helping UH grow, he features an extensive political experience that could impact the city as a whole.
“I think [UH] is one of our greatest assets.” Bell said. “Anytime…Houston can partner with our colleges and universities, then I would want to do that.”
He also said he believes such a partnership would strengthen the city, and he would want to continue those efforts.
For an institution that houses approximately 42,000 students, faculty and staff, continuing the efforts of Mayor Parker are appreciated but, regretfully, seem mediocre. We need a candidate who is willing to do more.
UH needs a candidate that is more eager.
If mediocrity is preferable to excellence for a deserving and large institution, Bell seems the best candidate. But if an aggressive business mentality with negotiating experience and promises of an influx of federal funds for UH sounds more appealing, McVey is clearly a better choice.
UH needs a candidate that not only shares the same vision as The Powerhouse, but also possesses broad features that guarantee a bright future for Houston.
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