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Q&A

INTERVIEW

WITH CITY OF HOUSTON CONTROLLER

RONALD C. GREEN AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? CONTROLLER GREEN: I was fortunate to have loving parents and grandparents who encouraged my inquisitiveness and school interests. Even as a youngster, I had a strong sense of community, in my case Houston’s Third Ward—where I still live. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? CONTROLLER GREEN: I always knew I wanted to be a part of my community and be of help to others; that came from my parents I think. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? CONTROLLER GREEN: Early on, I thought I wanted to be a doctor, and so I attended Debakey High School for Health Professions. When I was attending the University of Houston, I became interested in social issues and the sense of serving the community became even stronger. After I received my BS degree from the UH School of Social Science, I attended the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, and then while I served on Houston City Council, I went back to UH and obtained my MBA. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? CONTROLLER GREEN: I do not have a single “mission in life.” Rather, I have a mission to serve my city—and to elucidate the complexities of municipal finance to the public; a mission to serve and mentor young people; a mission to especially encourage and empower young AfricanAmericans as they begin their careers; a mission to collaboratively work with other municipalities in our country to address the large challenges cities face—and my position on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities has given me that opportunity. Finally, of course, I have the all-important mission of being an encouraging and loving father to Christopher, as my parents were to me.

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? CONTROLLER GREEN: I am especially proud that as Controller I have been involved in the aggressive re-financing of the City’ municipal bonds; our office has seen successful bond transactions that will save the city well over $450 million this next decade, money that will fund services for our citizens. I am also proud that the Controller’s Office has a heightened level of transparency and that more people are aware of what exactly this office accomplishes. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? CONTROLLER GREEN: My outlook for 2015 is very optimistic. Houston is doing well, post-recession. The City’s two main sources of revenue—property and sales taxes—have rebounded significantly from their lows during the recession, and that translates into City services such a libraries and parks and health clinics that benefit citizens across the city. There is an infectious civic pride in Houston—and, I think, the notion that we are all better off when there is a lessening of any “prosperity divide” among our citizens. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? CONTROLLER GREEN: Dreams need a plan. Most dreams that are realized have a lot of hard work and commitment behind them. Most dreams are team efforts really, and include parents and teachers and supportive friends. I do think it is important to choose your friends wisely and to play within the rules. I also think it’s important to not jeopardize your dreams by doing something stupid on Facebook or YouTube!!

ON THE COVER CITY OF HOUSTON CONTROLLER RONALD C. GREEN – Ronald C. Green was elected as the first African American Houston City Controller on December 12, 2009. HOUSTON BUSINESS CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

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