Ivy Ruth Taylor (born June 17, 1970) is the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. She is a nonpartisan officeholder, although she is registered as a Democrat. She is also the first African American to be elected mayor of San Antonio and only the second woman in the position. In addition, Taylor is the first female African American mayor of a city with a population of more than one million, making San Antonio the largest city in the United States to have a female African-American mayor.
Taylor's parents moved to New York City from Wilmington, North Carolina. Her mother was a member of the Pentecostal Holiness Church. Her parents did not attend college and divorced when she was young.
Taylor was born in the Brooklyn borough of New York. She told Texas Monthly, “I was born in Brooklyn, but I grew up in Queens”. She attended Public School 95 (Eastwood) in the Jamaica neighborhood.
Taylor obtained a bachelor's degree in American Studies in 1992 from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and a master's degree in City and Regional Planning in 1998 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Taylor was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta during her time at Yale. In 1997, as a graduate student, Taylor participated in a ten-week internship with the San Antonio Affordable Housing Association, a coalition of affordable-housing groups.
In 1999, after graduation, Taylor returned to San Antonio and began working as the municipal community development coordinator in the Housing and Community Development Department. After six years of employment with the City of San Antonio, Taylor in August 2004, went to work for Merced Housing Texas, an affordable housing agency. She also served on the City Planning Commission as a commission member from 2006 to 2008. She has also served on the board of directors for the Urban Renewal Agency (San Antonio Development Agency), and Haven for Hope. She serves on the board of directors for the Martinez Street Women's Center.
San Antonio City Council and mayoral appointment
Taylor was elected to San Antonio City Council in 2009 to represent District 2 on the east side of the city, and was re-elected to the body in 2011 and 2013. Taylor was appointed as mayor by the San Antonio City Council to serve in the interim following Julian Castro's departure to serve as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration. Former mayor Julian Castro was named in May 2014 to the Obama Cabinet and therefore was obligated to vacate his position as mayor. The charter of the City of San Antonio requires that in the event of a mayoral vacancy, the replacement mayor must be elected by and from the other ten members of the council with a majority of six votes. On July 22, 2014, the members of the San Antonio City Council held a special election to fill the vacant position. After Taylor and fellow councilman Ray Lopez split the vote 5-3 in favor of Taylor, Lopez withdrew from consideration, and Taylor was elected with a 9-0 vote. Once Taylor was elected, Castro immediately resigned as mayor.
2015 San Antonio mayoral race
Taylor had said that she would not run for mayor when her interim term expired in 2015; however, she declared her candidacy for re-election on February 16, 2015. In the San Antonio mayoral election held on May 9, 2015, no candidate received a majority of the vote. A runoff election was held on June 13 between Taylor and her remaining rival, Leticia Van de Putte, a liberal Democratic former member of the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. Though Van de Putte narrowly led the field in the first round of balloting, Taylor went on to win, 51.7%–48.3%, and hence retain her position as mayor for a full two-year term. Since that campaign, Taylor and Van de Putte have been reconciled, and Van de Putte, now a lobbyist, has endorsed Taylor's reelection. In making her endorsement, Van de Putte said that the voters "got it right" in 2015 when they chose Taylor for mayor, rather than herself.
The mayoral position pays $61,725 annually; prior to a city charter amendment the compensation had been only $3,000 per year plus a $20 stipend for each city council meeting.$3
2017 San Antonio mayoral race
On November 13, 2016, Taylor officially announced her intention to run for a second full term as mayor. Elections are scheduled to be held May 6, 2017.
In 2013, while on the city council, Taylor voted against a nondiscrimination ordinance approved by the council that would expand the city’s then current nondiscrimination policy to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status. Upon taking office as mayor in 2014, Taylor developed and created the city's Office of Diversity and Inclusion to handle complaints under the city's non-discrimination regulations and to facilitate resolution of these disputes. She also helped to kill a streetcar system for downtown San Antonio, which many fiscal conservatives had opposed.
On January 14, 2016, the city council voted to enact an ordinance which gives Taylor immunity from any of her actions that may have been in violation of the city ethics code. The council majority said that Taylor had technical violations but did not intend to break the code. She and her husband, Rodney, accepted Section 8 vouchers through the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA), even though she is forbidden from receiving the vouchers because the mayor has direct control over SAHA.
Taylor's ethics came into question again on March 24, 2016, when a complaint was filed against her from the Alamo Group of the Sierra Club for accepting a campaign contribution from the owner of a company helping to facilitate a $3.4 billion water supply project known as Vista Ridge. The mayor's office responded that the company "was in compliance with the City's municipal campaign finance code". The complaint was eventually dismissed by the city's Ethics Review Board.
Though she is an independent politician, and she herself is registered as a Democrat and votes in party primaries, Taylor has described herself as both "fiscally conservative and socially conservative." United States Senator John Cornyn accompanied Taylor to the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade in San Antonio and has urged her to join the GOP and to consider a later run for governor.
In April 2016, Taylor voiced backing for a proposed downtown baseball stadium to house a Triple-A team, now the Colorado Springs Sky Sox of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Team owner David G. Elmore plans to relocate in 2019. The proposed stadium would be financed in part with public funds. No cost amount has been finalized.
On June 16, 2016, Taylor was booed in San Antonio as she attempted to lead a prayer for families of the forty-nine victims of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, which occurred the preceding weekend. A sign held by an LGBT activist, read, “You can’t use your religion to oppress us and then use your prayers to console us."
Taylor received the San Antonio Business Journal's "40 under 40" Rising Star award in 2004.
Taylor's husband, Rodney Taylor, operates a bail bonds business in San Antonio and has one daughter, Morgan. The Taylors live in the Dignowity Hill neighborhood on the east side of the city.
Since 2009, Taylor has been a guest lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Public Policy.
San Antonio mayoral election, 2015
On May 9, 2015, the election for mayor was held. None of the leading candidates received more than 50% of the vote and as a result, a runoff election was scheduled for Saturday, June 13, 2015 between the top two vote-getters.
|✓||Leticia Van de Putte||25,982||30.43%|
|Michael "Commander" Idrogo||221||0.26%|
|Julie Iris Oldham (Mama Bexar)||103||0.12%|
|Pogo Mochello Reese||29||0.03%|
* Vote percentage include all of Bexar County with a total of 12,316 either voting in another municipal election or casting no ballot for San Antonio mayor.
More people voted in the runoff election for mayor than did in the regular election on May 9, 2015. Taylor found most of her support from conservatives within the city who typically reside on the north side and from her former city council district on the east side. Meanwhile, Van de Putte performed best on the west and south sides of town.
|Leticia Van de Putte||47,328||48.30%|
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