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Resting her hand on her grandfather, Rev. O.D. Ford Sr.’s heirloom Bible, Mayor Yolanda Ford was administered the oath of office at the Monday, Dec. 17 Regular City Council Meeting by Presiding Judge Debra Sinclair, signaling a historic transition of leadership in Missouri City prompted by Ford’s win in the Dec. 8 Runoff Election.
Joined by her father, Abram Ford, Sr., and her mother, Jacqueline, Mayor Ford vowed to “faithfully execute the duties of the Office…and to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States, and of this State,” in the presence of hundreds of citizens, stakeholders, family members, elected officials and supporters who came to witness the ceremony first-hand and gave her a standing ovation.After being sworn in, Ford, who was elected with 51.95 percent of the vote citywide, addressed the audience: “I just want to take this opportunity, to one, thank God, my parents, my family and everyone who supported me to get to this point. I sincerely appreciate it,” said Ford, who is the City’s 11th mayor and the first female and first person of color elected to the position. “And I want to leave everyone with one remark: I know we have a lot of differences, but with that we have to learn to appreciate our differences so that we can work together to get things done. And, I also want to say that we have to learn to work together as brothers or we’ll perish as fools. So thank you, thank you!”
Then, the new Mayor immediately conducted her first official action of the meeting by swearing-in At-Large Position #2 Councilmember Chris Preston, who was recently re-elected to his position, using her family’s Bible, which was held by Judge Sinclair.
Preston, who won his third term with 64.19 percent of the vote citywide in the runoff contest, spoke from the podium afterward, saying: “Wow, God is good all the time, all the time He is good. You know, someone saw me earlier and they said you seem jittery, are you nervous? Even though this is my third time, I am, and I don’t think I’ve been this nervous since I asked my fiancée if she would marry me. But no, in all seriousness, I am so honored to be standing before you starting my third term,” said Preston, who was also elected in 2014 and 2016. Preston, who was elected as Mayor Pro Tem later that night, continued: “I am honored, and as a proud product of Missouri City I will remain committed to the integrity and the forward progress of our beloved community. I grew up here…the schools raised me, the neighbors invested in me…the churches prayed for me and I owe a debt to Missouri City and I will pay that debt in full. We have a lot of business to do, a lot of unfinished work, so let’s get back to it. Thank you all.”Mayor Ford and City Manager Anthony J. Snipes also saluted former Mayor Allen Owen for his 32 years of public service to the citizens and presented him with a proclamation and a certificate reading: The City of Missouri City would like to extend their gratitude and appreciation to Mayor Allen Owen For your tireless devotion to the citizens and for personifying the role of a dedicated leader through your actions for the past 32 years. We appreciate your contributions and work as Mayor of the “Show Me City” strengthening families, workplaces and the overall community, making Missouri City one of America’s “Best Places to Live.”Owen shared his sentiments afterward, saying: “I want to thank God for giving me the strength and courage to take this job on. I wish Yolanda the best of luck in her new role. And I want to thank my family, my wife of 51 years, for allowing me to do this for 39 of those years. I want to thank all the people that are here who supported me over those years, it’s been a great journey. You know when I first started out this City had about 24,000 people in it. And the major employer at that time was a little foundry called WKM. Matter of fact our first fire station was there because they were afraid the foundry would catch on fire,” said Owen, who was Mayor from 1994 to 2018.
“So we’ve come a long way since then and I’ve worked with a lot of great Council people, a lot of great City Managers, a lot of great staff and I look back over the years and we’ve come a long way. We’re not the bedroom community we used to be, we’re the industrial giant, I think, of Fort Bend County. So, good luck to the Council, thank you for your service. Go to work, you’ve got a lot of work to do. Thank you all for coming.”
Mayor Ford also received accolades from the following dignitaries:
State Rep. Jarvis Johnson (Texas House District 139): “I wanted to come by to simply say [congratulations to Mayor Yolanda Ford] who has been a lifelong friend of mine. I wish you all the best and I want to let you know that you have a friend in the State House that will do all that I can to ensure your success as you build on one fantastic City and as you continue to do great work. Missouri City, you have a fantastic, fantastic Mayor.”
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (18th District): “Allow me first of all to say thank you to Mayor Owen for decades of service to this community. The example that both of you have shown in this brief moment captures the essence of democracy; and that is no matter what level of government it is a peaceful transition of government. I am here because it is important to affirm history. And today you make an enormous statement of history. A history that speaks to a new trajectory in the state of Texas. That we’ve moved to a point where people are elected from the basis of their credentials and as well respective of color, race or gender. You sit here as the first African-American woman to be elected Mayor of the City of Missouri City. And that is no small measure. I’ve found in life that there is no greater duty and beauty than serving people. What a wonderful season for you to be installed. The season of caring and giving.”
Diana Waters, Community Liaison for State Sen. Borris L. Miles (District 13), thanked Mayor Owen for his years of service on Miles’ behalf and presented a proclamation to Mayor Ford, congratulating her electoral success.
Many residents and stakeholders in attendance at the meeting also voiced well wishes to Mayor Ford, who prior to this election, was the City’s District A Councilmember from June, 2013 to November, 2018. Additionally, she was Mayor Pro Tem from November, 2017 to November, 2018.
The meeting then progressed with a presentation to Community Development Block Grant scholarship recipients, a recognition of the Communications Department for earning two TAMI Awards and five Communicator Awards, a presentation from Developer Brian Nguyen regarding Thomas Plaza II on Texas Parkway and an operational update from City Manager Snipes. In his remarks, he also welcomed Mayor Ford and said: “I congratulate you and welcome you as Mayor of our great City. We look forward to working with you and doing our very best to fulfill the strategic priorities of this Council and the Mayor.”
Snipes also commended former Mayor Owen for his service and thanked him “for his dedication and guidance.”
At the conclusion of the Dec. 17 Meeting, Councilmembers Reginald Pearson—District A, Jeffrey Boney—District B, Anthony Maroulis—District C, Floyd Emery—District D, Vashaundra Edwards—At-Large Position #1 and Chris Preston—At-Large Position #2, congratulated Mayor Ford on her election and noted they are looking forward to working with her to continue the City’s excellent service to the citizens.
To view a short swearing in ceremony, click on this City YouTube link: http://bit.ly/2T0gpo7.
To view the full meeting, which was live streamed on Missouri City Television, click on this City website link: http://bit.ly/2LrdySF.
For updates, please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov, like us on Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX and Nextdoor, watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse) or download the MCTX Mobile app (available for free in Google Play and the Apple app store).