Fresh faces on City Council and a mayor entering his final term greeted the New Year in a chilly, outdoor inauguration ceremony downtown. As Houston Public Radio’s Jack Williams reports, Mayor Bill White hopes new members of council will join what he calls a spirit of cooperation that has helped the city grow.
“Raise your right hand. I, Bill White.”
“I Bill White.”
“Do solemnly swear.”
“Do solemnly swear.”
With new construction in the background and a brand new downtown park being built around him, Mayor White, beginning what will be his last two year term, challenged the four new members of council to help continue what he says has been a profitable time for the city.
“Let’s rush to help each other when we stumble, certainly on matters not affecting the public trust. And stumble we will at times. Let’s remember that the large number of uncontested races, or lopsided races, or city bond issues that won overwhelmingly reflects in part the fact that our community endorses our approach at city hall of working together to get things done.”
Later, at the first official council meeting of the new year, new council members family’s crowded around them as they settled into their new positions. Wanda Adams now represents District D after almost eight years as a city employee.
“Being a new councilmember, we always want to cooperate and have a strong relationship with the other council members because I think that is how we’ll be able to get things done and not only that, to be able to pick-up on views of the other council members that sit around the table because I think once we come together and work together, we can work on behalf of the city of Houston and city government.”
New District E councilman Mike Sullivan has spend the last 6 years as a community liaison for former councilmember Michael Berry and says he’s ready for the new challenge.
“I’ll make some stumbles and mistakes along the way, there’s no doubt, and I’ll pick myself up and move on. It’s serious business. We are the 4th largest city in America and it’s a great honor to be here, but it’s also a great responsibility.”
James Rodriguez is no stranger to city hall either, spending the last few years as chief of staff for outgoing councilmember Carol Alvarado. He says his experience will make the learning process a lot easier.
“With term limits, you always have a new council. You change other elected officials and so I think it’s good to have knowledge and experience prior to coming on board. I think that’s going to help me and my constituents of District I.”
Jolanda Jones is the other new councilmember, representing At-Large position 5. Councilmember MJ Kahn was confirmed as the new mayor pro tem.