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Bill King Makes Run For Houston Mayor Official

King plans to make city finances the main issue of his campaign.

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Bill King announces his candidacy for mayor on a pothole-ridden street in west Houston.

 

Bill King is a retired attorney, businessman, and a former columnist for the Houston Chronicle. And he has already been mayor — in the small waterfront town of Kemah.

King made the announcement on a pothole-ridden street in west Houston to highlight the bad condition of the city’s roads.

“We need to get back to the basics,” he said. “We got to fix the streets, catch the crooks, balance the budget. I think that’s what the people want.”

He said the last point — finances — is the root issue.

King has long called for reforming the public pension system. Houston’s obligations to retirees are arguably the biggest burden on the city’s budget.

King’s vision is to move away from a defined benefit pension plan for city employees, including police officers and firefighters.

He said that plan promises retirees a set amount, which the city may not be able to pay.

“We need to change new employees to defined contribution plans – 401(k)s – just like everybody else in the private sector has had for the last 20 or 30 years,” King said. “At least, let’s stop digging the hole any deeper.”

The fact is the state Legislature would need to authorize changes to the pension system for public employees.

King said a Houston mayor committed to reform could lobby lawmakers to make those changes.

Other declared and likely candidates for mayor include former City Council member Chris Bell, former Houston City Attorney Ben Hall, city council members Oliver Pennington and Stephen Costello, state Rep. Sylvester Turner and Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

The election is on Nov. 3.

 

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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