Mayoral Run-off Candidate Luncheon: Bill King

On November 20th, 2015, the American Turkic Business Council in partnership with the Houston Metropolitan Chamber hosted a luncheon forum for Mayoral Run-Off Candidate Bill King. The first of the two-part luncheon took place at the ATBC Headquarters and welcomed many distinguished guests.

The event began with lunch with the guests having the chance to meet Mr. King. ATBC President, Mr. Orhan Osman, and Houston Metropolitan Chamber President, Mrs. Peggy Wilson, gave the opening speech that officially started the program.

Mr. King began his speech agenda by highlighting the “can do spirit” of Houston, which allows Houstonians to do remarkable things like the Houston Ship Channel that was built 100 years. Candidate King touched on the importance of Houston and the achievements that have happened in our city.

He included that anyone who wants to do anything can do it in Houston because of its openness towards diversity and acceptance of all individuals.

Mr. King continued his speech by highlighting why he is running for mayor. He stated there are three areas of concern for him, 1. infrastructure of Houston being at ruins, 2. people not feeling safe in the city, 3. our city government spends way more than it takes in.

Candidate King emphasized that Houston has a spending problem that needs to be addressed so that we can steer the city in the right direction. A few examples he gave was spending $30 million dollars in the crime lab that the city is not good at operating, as well as the “old-style” pension plans that has become a burden on the city budget that are actually not sustainable.

Going forward Mr. King states that we need to stop making pension plan promises that we cannot keep. He addressed the importance of putting new employees into defined contribution plans so that they have more control over what percentage of their salary goes into their retirement. He also emphasized the importance of refinancing the money that is already owed to current employees without further damaging city finances.

Mr. King pointed out that by running for mayor he can right-size the expenditures, and instead of spending the money, we can invest it. He stated that by getting the city “back to the basics”, we can also get it back to doing great things as it has in the past.

Following Mr. King’s speech, attendees had the chance to briefly ask questions that addressed some key issues like bringing Houston closer to the Americas so that it can act as a gateway, building sister city relationships, enhancing the way legal documents are written to avoid ambiguity, and providing the basic services that any city needs to run successfully.