Meredith Spencer (H2009)

Placement: Mayor’s Office of Government Affairs & Policy Planning

What I Worked on: My primary assignment was to compile a history and case study of Mayor Bill White’s Houston HOPE program to preserve this vital institutional history for the benefit of other city officials, future elected officials, and the public. Houston HOPE involves many City departments, community development corporations, builders and other private, non-profit, and governmental entities with a common goal of revitalizing several historic neighborhoods. Revitalization efforts include building new affordable housing on long abandoned and tax delinquent properties, repair of occupied homes, infrastructure improvements, and helping potential homeowners access down-payment assistance. I attended bi-monthly Houston HOPE meetings which are run by the Mayor and include many of the City’s department directors. At these meetings, I summarized the main issues discussed and action taken, collected handouts and compiled items for meeting documentation. My research also looked back to create a full history of the program using items such as ordinances, reports from prior Houston HOPE meetings and inter-local agreements.

Along with Houston HOPE, I worked with the Mayor’s Government Affairs Director during the 81st Texas Legislative Session. I tracked bills that were opposed or supported by the City and prepared legislative updates for the Mayor, Council Members, and Department directors. Throughout the year I also conducted various policy research proposals for the Mayor, often on short notice. I also prepared talking points for speeches the Mayor has given at various events around the state.

My final major project came about as a result of the federal government’s Summer Jobs for Youth Program. Along with the Mayor’s Deputy Director for Policy Planning, I was supervisor of 19 interns as they worked on a genealogical project through the Mayor’s Office. The focus of the project was on a historic African-American cemetery located in the Fourth Ward called College Memorial Park Cemetery. The cemetery was abandoned for some time and is currently being rehabilitated by church members, the City, and other volunteers. The Mayor requested a list of ancestors and well as living descendants prepared as the final product. I supervised and taught the interns how to conduct the genealogical research necessary.

Hometown: Houston, Texas

School: Houston Baptist University

Field of Study: Political Science & Sociology

Selected Honors: Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Alpha Chi National Honor Society

Selected Activities and Community Involvement: Houston Baptist University NCAA Div. I Women’s Soccer (Captain), Special Needs Children’s Sunday School Teacher

Prior Work Experience: SBM Imodco Engineering Intern, Interface Americas Showroom Coordinator

Why Houston is important to me: Growing up in Houston, I have come to admire and appreciate the rich cultural and political diversity that makes my city what it is. I have always been very interested in government, and I now have the opportunity to be directly involved on the local level.

Something unique about me: I have played competitive soccer since the age of seven and continued to play at the collegiate level.

What I’m Doing Now: I am in law school. However, immediately after the Fellowship I worked as the Government Affairs Coordinator for the Greater Houston Builders’ Association

Copyright 2007-2012. City Hall Fellows. All rights reserved.