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Kathryn J. Whitmire

Kathryn J. Whitmire
57th Mayor of Houston
In office
Preceded by Jim McConn
Succeeded by Bob Lanier
Houston City Controller
In office
Preceded by Leonel J. Castillo
Succeeded by Lance Lalor
Personal details
Born (1946-08-15) August 15, 1946
Houston, Texas, USA
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Jim Whitmire (m. 1966, died 1976)
Residence Hau,ula, Hawaii
Alma mater University of Houston
Profession Businesswoman

Kathryn Jean "Kathy" Whitmire (born August 15, 1946) was Mayor of the city of Houston, Texas, from 1982 to 1991.

Whitmire was a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she taught political science classes in the Burns Leadership Academy. Whitmire was the daughter of Ida Reeves and Karl Niederhofer, a licensed electrician. She was married to James M. (Jim) Whitmire who died in 1976. Whitmire holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting and a Master of Accountancy from the University of Houston. Additionally, she is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Whitmire was the first female elected to Houston city government. She was first elected as City Controller for two terms and then mayor. She served five continuous two-year terms as mayor, partly during a downturn in the economy. She also served as the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Texas Municipal League. She also served six terms on the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange. She was the first mayor to appoint an African American, Lee P. Brown, as Houston's police chief. Brown later would also become mayor. Brown was succeeded by the city's first female police chief, Elizabeth Watson. Whitmire also appointed the first Hispanic, Sylvia R. Garcia, as presiding judge of the Houston Municipal Court. Garcia later ran for Houston City Controller and Harris County Commissioner. Whitmire also drafted a major Monorail mass transit plan that was defeated by Bob Lanier, her successor.

The Neartown area of Houston held the core of Whitmire's political support in the late 1970s and early 1980s. But in the 1991 Mayor of Houston election she garnered just a 40-percent plurality there.[1][2] Houston's 1985 mayoral election, in which Whitmire won reelection over former mayor Louie Welch and supporters of the "straight slate" ticket, attracted national attention.[3]

In 2001, Whitmire was featured on VH1's I Love the 80s program because of her resemblance to Dustin Hoffman's character "Tootsie", a comparison that had been made while she was in office.

In 2001, Whitmire moved to Hawaii, where she invests in real estate.

Texas State Senator John Whitmire is her former brother-in-law.


  1. ^ Rodriguez, Lori. "Saying goodbye, with no regrets." Houston Chronicle. Saturday November 9, 1991. A31.
  2. ^ Bernstein, Alan and Jim Simmon. "Black vote went solidly for Turner/Whitmire failed to produce split." Houston Chronicle. Thursday November 7, 1991. A21.
  3. ^ "Aids Issue Seen as Minor Factor in Houston Vote" by Robert Reinhold in the New York Times.

External links

  • Whitmire, Mayor Kathy and Jim Barlow. Mayor Kathy Whitmire Oral History, Houston Oral History Project, July 14, 2008.
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim McConn
Mayor of Houston, Texas
Succeeded by
Bob Lanier
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