"This is the economic engine that creates jobs and prosperity for the region, as it has for the last hundred years, and will do so for the next hundred years."
But despite rosy projections for the port's financial future, Houston attorney Janiece Longoria takes the chairman's post following a Sunset Review that recommends changes in the way port commissioners are selected.
Right now, those seven members are chosen by local officials, but the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission voted in November to give that power to the governor.
The state legislature will have the ultimate say on the port commission's future makeup, but Longoria says they are working to make changes.
"Just to be clear, we were already working on a number of the governance issues that they have addressed before the recommendations were made by the Sunset Commission. So we will continue to do that. We will continue to do that. We will do it in a positive way."
The Sunset Commission made its recommendations amid charges of financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest. Longoria takes over for longtime Port Chairman Jim Edmonds, who declined to seek reappointment.