Inauguration of A New Mayor for City of Houston

Houston has a new mayor who, following a public inauguration on January 2nd this year, will assume the responsibility of leading the 4th largest city in the country.

The Wortham Theatre Center in Downtown Houston was filled with people who watched longtime state senator John Whitmire take the oath of office as Houston’s 63rd mayor. Whitmire was accompanied by his two daughters, Whitney and Sarah Whitmire. The new city controller and 16 city council members were also sworn in.

The program participants were: Khambrel Marshall (Master of Ceremonies), the Houston Symphony with conductor Gonzalo Farias, the Houston Police and Fire Department Joint Honor Guard (Presentation of Colors), Dylan Zhong (Pledge of Allegiance), Ailyn Perez (Principal Artist), Houston Grand Opera (National Anthem), Reverend Michael Gott (Inaugural Blessing), Kenneth Gayle (Tenor) and Reverend Michael Gott (Soloist) (“You’ll Never Walk Alone”), Mary Griffin and Shaun Smith (Soloists) (“Up Where We Belong”), and Eduardo Trevino and Mariachi Nueco Imperio (Finale Song, “La Charreada”).

The Honorable Victor Trevino III, Harris County Precinct 6, Place 1, gave Mayor Whitmire and City Controller Christopher George Hollins their Oath of Office. Mayor Whitmire then gave the Oath of Office to the City Council. Mayor Pro-Tem is Martha Castex-Tatum Vice Mayor Pro-Tem is Amy Peck

Immediately following the swearing-in ceremony, we were invited to a reception by Edward Pollard, Councilman for District J.

Sixteen Council Members, along with the Mayor and City Controller, are elected every four years. Council Members are limited to serving two terms of four years each, with each term beginning on January 2. Five Council Members are elected At-Large, or city-wide, while the other eleven are elected to geographic districts of roughly the same proportion of the population. Below are your Council Members for January 2, 2024 to January 2, 2028. You can write to your Council Member at 900 Bagby / City Hall Annex / First Floor / Houston, TX 77002. Go to https://www.houstontx.gov/council/ to find your representative.

During his inauguration speech, Mayor Whitmire promised to address issues like city finances and services, infrastructure, and homelessness in Houston.

“Everyone should be smiling this morning,” Whitmire said. “The people of Houston are smiling because they’ve elected a mayor that’s going to listen to them, a mayor that is known for solving problems. And that’s why it’s exciting to be here today.”

Most of Whitmire’s speech was centered around improving public safety, which he said is his top priority.

“If we do not address public safety, the other quality-of-life issues will not matter,” he said. “The first solution to solving a problem is acknowledging you have one and I know what the stats say. I know they’re headed in the right direction from last year, but one year’s stats do not explain the fullness of the problem.”

Whitmire said he’s already looking into solutions like adding more police officers, better methods for recruiting, and reducing court backlogs. Whitmire was sworn in during a private ceremony on Monday with family and friends in attendance and said he immediately jumped into action within his first hour as mayor.

“The first thing I did after I was sworn in at 12:01 because I didn’t want to waste any time, was ride with (Houston Police Chief Troy) Finner,” he said. “I wanted our first responders to know that I cared and that Houstonians cared, that I was representing Houstonians to say, ‘Thank you, first responders, for putting your life on the line.’ “

Following Tuesday’s inaugural ceremony, the first city council meeting of the year was held within City Hall chambers full of Houstonians, elected officials, and their families and friends. The new administration also appointed council members Martha Castex-Tatum as the new Mayor Pro-Tem and Amy Peck as Vice Mayor Pro-Tem.

Chris Hollins, the city’s new controller, who oversees the city’s finances, said he was bringing more accountability and transparency to the city’s finances, which he pushed during the campaign trail.

Hours after his inauguration ceremony, Whitmire invited Houston residents to speak with him directly about what their priorities are for the city.

Ramon Curry is passionate about providing resources to formerly incarcerated individuals in Harris County. He spoke to Whitmire in the City Hall rotunda and said he thinks the informal meet-and-greet was a good first step.

“Hey, if you’re going to be part of a team, you’ve got to understand what the team needs, right?” Curry said. “So, I think that’s a really good start. We don’t usually get that forum to talk to people in his position.”

Attendees spoke to Whitmire about myriad concerns, from affordable housing to education programs. Several addressed the city’s aging infrastructure.

Whitmire has identified fixing the city’s streets as another one of his priorities.


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