Kathryn Jean Whitmire (née Niederhofer) (born August 15, 1946) is an American politician, businesswoman, and accountant best known as the first woman to serve as Mayor of Houston, serving for five consecutive two-year terms from 1982 to 1991. From 1977 to 1981, she was the city controller, a position which made her the first female elected to any office in the city. Whitmire drew national attention when she defeated former Harris County Sheriff Jack Heard in her election as mayor. The election drew national focus because it symbolized a major political realignment in the fourth-largest city in the United States. In office, she implemented many reforms to city finances, enabling new programs without raising taxes. Her appointment of the city's first African American police chief and the first Hispanic woman as presiding judge of the Municipal Court, her support of a failed job rights bill for homosexuals, among other acts, cemented her support among many minority groups. When former mayor Louie Welch attempted a comeback in the 1985 election, he was unable to mount a convincing argument that he could more ably lead the city out of a recession than Whitmire could. Instead, the opposition to Whitmire focused on public fears about the AIDS epidemic. , A so-called "Straight Slate", opposed gay rights and supported Welch, who, however, did not accept its endorsement. The issue failed to affect Whitmire's support. She won the election, getting 59.8 percent of the votes. The Straight Slate did force two city council members, Anthony Hall and Judson Robinson, into a runoff which they then won. Her string of victories ended with the 1991 mayoral election when she was defeated by long-time political power broker Bob Lanier and State Representative Sylvester Turner. Lanier defeated Turner in the December runoff. She has never run for political office again.