Kathryn J. Whitmire The First Woman Mayor

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Kathryn J. Whitmire the First Woman Mayor

Kathryn J. Whitmire the First Woman Mayor


Kathryn "Kathy" J. Whitmire, a Houstonian born Oct. 29, 1946, graduated from San Jacinto High School as a Jones Scholar in 1964. She earned her degree in Business Administration from the University of Houston (UH) in 1968, magna cum laude and married Jim Whitmire, a business and accounting student. Kathy and her husband aspired to establish a Certified Public Accounting (CPA) practice together, so she earned a Master of Science degree in accounting in 1970. Whitmire became an executive with the accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand in Houston, where she remained for eight years. She served as a faculty member for the Department of Business Management at UH Downtown, and ran a certified public accounting practice with her husband. After ten years of marriage, Whitmire's husband died of juvenile diabetes complications.

Following her husband's death, Whitmire ran for mayor of Houston in 1981. She won the mayoral race to serve as mayor for a total of five consecutive two-year terms. Whitmire achieved many awards throughout her mayoral tenure including the Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Public Service Award from the Houston Chapter of CPAs. Furthermore, she was named the 1982 Woman of the Year by the Texas Women's Political Caucus. Whitmire served on numerous committees including the executive committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Literacy Task Force and Task Force on Drug Control and served as chair of the standing committee on the Arts, Culture & Recreation.

In 1984, Whitmire received the Public Service Award from the American Society of Women CPAs then was awarded the International Business Award from the Houston World Trade Association and the Michael A. DiNunzio Award for Partnerships for Youth from the U.S. Conference of Mayors the following year. In 1986, Whitmire received the Institute of Human Relations Award from the International New Thought Alliance and was named the 1986 Distinguished Professional Woman by the Committee on the Status of Women at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. In 1987, she was honored with the Distinguished Sales Award by the Sales and Marketing Executives Society of Houston for her economic development efforts for Houston. She co-chaired the National League of Cities' (NLC) International Economic Development Task Force and was the 1987 chair of the NLC's Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations Steering Committee.

She served as second vice-president on the board of directors of the Texas Municipal League and was a member of the board of trustees of the UH Foundation and executive committee of the Houston Economic Development Council. Upon her defeat by Bob Lanier in 1991, Whitmire embarked on various other activities and jobs. She was married in 2002 to Alan J. Whelms and moved to Hawaii.


Kathy Whitmire Kathy Whitmire, the mayor of the fourth-largest city in America, is tough, smart, capable, possessed of iron integrity--and a terrible politician. "Kathy Whitmire," says Billie Carr, one of the city's longtime political activists, "is no ...
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