Historic swearing-in ceremony marks new era for Missouri City
Hundreds of supporters, family members and friends cheered and stood to applaud during the Dec. 17 swearing-in ceremony for Yolanda Ford, the first woman and first person of color to be elected mayor of Missouri City. Among the crowd were a number of VIP guests including Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee and State Rep. Jarvis Johnson, who were both invited to speak before the standing-room-only crowd.
“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,” the congresswoman told Ford. “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.”
Missouri City, you have a fantastic, fantastic Mayor
Rep. Johnson told the crowd he came to congratulate his lifelong friend on her election win.
“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,” Johnson said. “Missouri City, you have a fantastic, fantastic Mayor.”
In a runoff election held Dec. 8., Ford edged past 39-year incumbent Allen Owen to win with 51.95 percent of the vote. Before becoming mayor, she served as District A Councilmember from June, 2013 to November, 2018 and served as Mayor Pro Tem from November, 2017 to November, 2018.
“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,” Ford said. “And, I also want to say that we have to learn to work together as brothers or we’ll perish as fools.”
Owen: It’s been a great journey
In his farewell speech, Owen, who served as mayor from 1994 to 2018, thanked his supporters and voiced support for Ford.
“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,” Owen said. “When I first started out this City had about 24,000 people in it. 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.”
Preston sworn in to third term
As her first official act as mayor, Ford presided over the swearing-in ceremony for At-Large Position 2 Councilmember Chris Preston, who recently won re-election with 64.19 percent of the vote.
“I grew up here and I am a proud product of this community,” Preston said. “The schools raised me. The neighbors invested in me; they looked over me and the churches prayed for me. I owe a debt to Missouri City and I intend to pay that debt in full.”
The swearing-in ceremony was held during the Dec. 17 regular city council meeting.