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Former "Drug Czar" Lee Brown Elected Mayor of Houston


January 1998

Lee Brown, Ph.D. (D), former Clinton administration "drug czar," was elected mayor of Houston, Texas, defeating businessman Rob Mosbacher (R). In an unofficial count of the vote, Brown, the first mayor of Houston who is a member of a racial minority, received about 52% of the vote to Mosbacher's 48%. Houston is the nation's fourth largest city, with a tri-ethnic population of about one-third white, one-third black and one-third Hispanic. Brown received endorsements from President Clinton and Vice-President Gore, while Mosbacher received endorsements from former President George Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush (Alan Bernstein, "Brown makes history in victory," Houston Chronicle, December 7, 1997; Sue Anne Pressley, "Brown seizes narrow Houston victory," Washington Post, December 7, 1997, p. A3; Sam Howe Verhovek, "The gloves come off in Houston's election," New York Times, December 3, 1997, p. A16).

Brown served as Houston's police chief from 1982 to 1990, after serving in similar posts in Atlanta, Georgia, and Portland, Oregon. He left Houston to become New York City police commissioner, and returned to Houston in 1992 to become a Texas Southern University professor. He was then appointed Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy by President Clinton in 1993. Brown resigned in late 1995 and returned to Houston to join the faculty of Rice University. The mayoral race was his first campaign for elective office. Brown was sworn in as mayor on January 2. His plans for Houston include a city "drug czar" to develop anti-drug strategies. "My vision is of a Houston where every child is handed a library card instead of a beer can, a joint or a pill," he said (Ex-drug czar sworn in as Houston's Mayor," Washington Times, January 3, 1998, p. A3).

Houston Mayor Lee Brown - P.O. Box 1562, Houston, TX 77251, Tel: (713) 247-2200.