Houston Mayor John Whitmire hit 100 days in office April 10.

Whitmire assumed office Jan. 2 as the 63rd mayor for the city of Houston. He previously served as a state representative for 10 years and a state senator for 40 years.

He won the mayoral race with 64.4% of the votes against his opponent, Sheila Jackson Lee.

The setup

In an Oct. 9 Community Impact Q&A with all mayoral candidates, Whitmire spoke about why he chose to run for office and what his top priorities were. He said he chose to run for office because he is a public servant.

“I care about Houston and Houstonians; we all want a great city in which to live, work, raise our families," Whitmire said. "As mayor I can make a more direct impact. Together we can improve our neighborhoods with better streets, garbage pickup, flood control, a more affordable Houston.”

Whitmire said his top priorities would include:

  • Public safety, including fire, police and municipal employees
  • City infrastructure, including streets, water lines, flooding and drainage
  • City services, including garbage pickup, outrageous water bills and illegal dumping
  • Budget, transparency and ethics

Within his first 100 days in office, Whitmire has addressed several key issues that he campaigned on while also kick-starting several projects that were stalled under the previous administration.

The action taken

In his first 100 days in office, Whitmire made several leadership changes.


New leadership appointments

  • Whitmire replaced Houston Public Library Director Rhea Lawson after almost two decades with Cynthia Wilson, his senior adviser for organizational culture and education.
  • Jim Szczesniak replaced Mario Diaz as new director of the Houston Airport System.
  • Melissa Dubowski replaced Will Jones as chief of the city’s finance department.
  • Whitmire appointed Elizabeth Gonzalez Brock as Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County board chair, the first Hispanic woman to hold the position.

Key projects

Bush Airport expansion: The $2.6 billion project between the city of Houston and United Airlines to expand and upgrade Terminal B at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport was finally given the green light to continue March 20 after more than several months of delays.

Houston firefighter agreement: Three days after assuming office, Whitmire ordered the city’s legal department to end all pending litigation against the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association after a nearly eight-year-long dispute. In March, he announced a new settlement that included the city of Houston paying $650 million in back pay owed to firefighters.

Water Bill Relief Improvement Plan: In early April, Whitmire announced details of his Water Bill Improvement Plan, which was aimed at helping to address Houstonians’ frustrations with inaccurate water bills. Houston water customers had been grappling with inaccurate bills and overcharges for several years.

In his own words

During a press conference April 10, Whitmire said he doesn’t find anything significant about it being his 100th day.

“We operate today, like we did the first day,” he said. “My hours will be the same. We start early. We leave late. From 12:01 a.m. New Years Eve we hit the ground running.”

Whitmire said he thought the general morale of the public and municipal employees has been up since he took office.

“The employee groups have told me that their morale has improved, but let me tell you where the real morale is: When I’m in public, Houstonians are excited," he said. "I can measure it. I’ve been in public office for 51 years. I know how they respond to you as a public official, and people are coming with a positive attitude."

Whitmire said there’s been a can-do attitude that has been demonstrated in his first 100 days, but there is still a lot of work to do and his administration will work hard to continue getting things accomplished.