Mattie Parker was sworn in Tuesday as Fort Worth mayor, becoming the youngest leader of a major American city.
"It is 'go time' in Fort Worth, Texas," she said during an evening ceremony at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
Parker, a 37-year-old attorney, served as chief of staff to outgoing Mayor Betsy Price.
Parker defeated Deborah Peoples in a runoff election on June 5 after the pair finished as the top two vote-getters in a May general election.
Parker was sworn in along with four council members. The new team of leaders is much younger and generally more liberal than the previous council.
"The question facing our city isn't whether we go right or left," Parker said. "It's how we move Fort Worth forward."
Parker vowed to work openly with the new council.
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"I promise to never point fingers, to always look for ways to join hands," she said. "I will attack problems, not people. My door is always open. Let's listen to common sense and find common ground together."
The beginning of Parker's speech was briefly interrupted by protesters shouting the name of Atatiana Jefferson, the woman shot and killed by Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean who was charged with her murder and is awaiting trial.
Parker thanked the protesters for being there and moved on.
One challenge the new council will face is what to do with the stalled flood control project known as Panther Island.
“I am anxious just to sort of clear the slate," Parker said in an interview earlier this week. "We’ve got to work together to focus on what it looks like to have a plan b for that project."
Parker said she looked forward to meeting with all of those involved.
“I’ve thrown out the idea, and maybe we do this this summer, is having an open meeting with all of those jurisdictions to just think about how are we going to vision through this project if we don't receive federal funding," she said. "And that's not a finger-pointing game at Congresswoman (Kay) Granger or anybody else involved. It just is what it is."
The other council members sworn in Tuesday were Jared Williams, Leonard Firestone, Elizabeth Beck and Chris Nettles.
In his speech, Nettles called for the creation of a police Citizens Review Board and for the city to settle a lawsuit filed by Jacqueline Craig, a mother who was thrown to the ground and arrested by a Fort Worth police officer several years ago. Video of Craig's arrest went viral and led to a task force on race and culture which recommended many changes to the department and to city government in general.
Nettles also called on county officials to expedite the trial of Aaron Dean.
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