State Sen. John Whitmire is now Houston’s 63rd elected mayor after defeating U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in a runoff election by about 30 percentage points, the largest margin of victory for a first-time mayor since 1977.
As part of his campaign and after he was elected, he made some key promises to fulfill once he gets to City Hall, so here are some things he promised to do when he takes office, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Increase the number of police officers
One of the key issues in Whitmire’s campaign was safety. Despite a drop in crime, Whitmire said the crime rate is still too high and the city needs more police to fight it.
He promised to recruit and hire more crime prevention cadets and increase the number of police officers.
Bringing in State Troopers
As part of his plan to have more people to reduce crime rates, Whitmire said he would work with Gov. Abbott’s administration to bring in 200 state troopers from the Department of Public Safety to help police.
That move has been criticized for the poor results state troopers have achieved in Austin.
DPS was criticized by the District Attorney’s Office for disproportionately arresting people of color.
Whitmire noted that the city spends more than it takes in and needs to be on a more sustainable financial footing. However, he did not specify what specific actions he would take to achieve this.
Pause annual water rate increases
Currently, annual rate increases are added to the cost of water in addition to annual adjustments to account for inflation and population growth. Taking just those two factors into account, rates are raised about 4 percent a year, but with the surcharges, they have risen as much as 9.2 percent in recent years.
Whitmire promised to pause those rates and be more transparent.
More ethical procurement process
Whitmire said that fair procedures are “key to gaining the trust of taxpayers and those who want to do business with the city. In recent years, many public officials have pleaded guilty to favoring friends or family by awarding contracts or helping bars pass inspections.
Still, Whitmire himself was caught in the middle of a conflict of interest after a Harris County probation department paid him more than $80,000 to help explain legal changes in a bill he sponsored.
End firefighters dispute
Whitmire sponsored a bill that could end the contract dispute between the Turner administration and the firefighters’ union.
“We will meet with them and give them a contract that is fair to Houstonian taxpayers and the firefighters,” Whitmire said.
Whitmire expects to fulfill all these promises in his administration as Houston’s mayor.
“Great cities solve their problems. They bring people together. Our campaign united this city,” He said “Tonight I’m smiling. And I’m smiling for the city of Houston. I want you to smile because tonight is something to smile about.”