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Optimism Despite Challenges

Over a thousand people jammed the Wortham Theater downtown for the public inauguration of new Houston Mayor Annise Parker and other elected officials. In her speech, Parker outlined the challenges for Houston. Pat Hernandez has more.



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Annise Parker:  “And will to the best of my ability, preserve protect and defend the constitution and laws of the United States and of this state, so help me God.”

Annise Parker was officially sworn in as Houston’s 61st mayor over the weekend, that didn’t stop people from voicing their approval at the public ceremony at the Wortham. She then outlined four challenges: finances, public safety, education and the aging infrastructure.

“As much as we try and as hard as we work and for all the right reasons that we do things, we will make mistakes and we will have failures. So I’m gonna ask for your forgiveness in advance.”

She thanked predesessor Bill White for leaving her with a city in good financial shape, and praised city workers for their committment.

“So, to the unsung heroes of the city workforce, I want you to know this: the citizens of Houston are on your side. We’re in this together.”

Parker recalled how her election was one for the history books.

“We have a tradition of electing mayors not for who they are, but for what they believe we can do as a city.”

Parker said Houston in her imagination is a city with a more unified approach to public safety, and for education.

“Imagine a city where the high school dropout rate is insignificant. Think what that would mean? Think what that would mean for our quality of life, and our ability to attract jobs but, think what that would mean for the lives of our children, and our children’s-children.”

She asked Houstonians to make things that are imagined a reality. Reaction to her speech was generally positive.

 “I think it was very inspiring. I think it was very thought provoking, very insightful.”

“I thought it was wonderful. I think she has a bunch of great ideas, and I think 2010 is gonna be a great year and I’m just really excited about all this.”

One pundit says Mayor Parker’s experience will help her in trying to establish a growth based economy. Former Mayor Fred Hofheinz went away impressed.

“I thought it was a wonderful speech. A tribute to this city, her love for it, her concern for it, and the expression of the issues I think was well done. I think she hit the issues right on the button. Now, we got to do something about them.”