At a press conference today, five new prominent businesses and GOP leaders announced their public support of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) adding to the growing list of corporate, hospitality and development endorsements.
Speakers expressed concern about negative economic consequences if the ordinance is repealed at the ballot box in November, saying Houston’s reputation on the national and international stage is at stake.
Welcome Wilson Sr., one of the first developers to sign-on support late last month, highlighted the necessity of the ordinance for attracting and retaining top business talent:
To compete with other economic hubs and remain the number one state in the nation to do business, Houston must demonstrate a commitment to creating an open, healthy and diverse workforce. The next generation of workers, millennials, are making permanent decisions about where they’re going to start their career and we want those talented people to come to Houston. We don’t want them to cross Houston off the list because our city is perceived as discriminating against their friends, families and co-workers.
Vice President of AECOM and former Houston Council Member Anne Clutterbuck, one of the latest in an impressive line of endorsements, echoed Wilson’s sentiments:
I’m Supporting Prop. 1 – It’s good for economic growth and sends a strong signal to the business community in Texas and around the world that Houston is open for business and that we want to attract the very best and brightest talent.
HERO protects hardworking Houstonians from discrimination in housing, employment and public spaces across 15 classes, including race, gender, military status, sexual orientation and gender identity.
If repealed, Houston would be the largest city in the U.S. without a local ordinance for dealing with discrimination claims. As the most diverse city in America, with a reputation for being young and cutting edge, non-discrimination protections are critical for maintaining this competitive advantage.
Long-time supporter Ed Wulfe, Chairman and CEO of Wulfe & Co., sent a message of empowerment to locals:
A vote for Proposition 1 is an opportunity for Houston voters to take charge and make a clear statement that we embrace our multicultural reputation – where everyone has a chance to be treated equally, work hard and enjoy Houston’s bustling economy and quality of life.
Today’s press event came on the heels of notable full page ad that was published in the Houston Chronicle earlier this week urging Houstonians to vote Yes on Proposition 1 to protect HERO and uphold local non-discrimination protections.