‘Lace Over Steel’: The Women Mayors of Texas

‘Lace Over Steel’: The Women Mayors of Texas


shutterstock_167438378BETTY TURNER, THE FIRST WOMAN to serve as Mayor of Corpus Christi, Tex., is munching Gulf shrimp and having a minor disagreement with her husband, Jack. She says he feels left out when she sits on the dais at major dinners. He says he doesn’t mind, because for years she did the same whenever he received an award for his work as an architect. Well, she counters, he does seethe a bit when referred to as Mr. Betty Turner. Nonsense, he replies, he finds it funny.

Then the Mayor gives her husband of 35 years a knowing smile. ”You really did mind when they let me join your Rotary Club,” she says. The club, which barred women until last summer, made her its first female member when she was elected Mayor last spring.

Jack Rice Turner pauses just a little too long, pledges his support for his wife’s rights just a little too strongly and then admits, ”I don’t see why women need to join everything that men do. Why don’t they join a club of their own?”

Mayor Turner is a member of just such a club – the women mayors of Texas. Kathryn Whitmire is the Mayor of Houston. Annette Strauss is the Mayor of Dallas. Janice Coggeshall is the Mayor of Galveston. Just over 12 percent of the mayors in Texas are women. Until recently, Austin and San Antonio also had women in the mayor’s office, meaning that five of the largest cities in the nation’s third-most-populous state were headed by women. READ MORE