City Hall

Mayor Sylvester Turner’s First Order of Business: Fix Potholes

The new mayor outlined his priorities in his inaugural address.

By Roxanna Asgarian January 4, 2016

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Sylvester Turner is sworn in as Mayor of Houston by Judge Vanessa Gilmore as his daughter Ashley holds the bible at Jones Hall January 4, 2016. 

On Monday, after more than 25 years in the state legislature, Sylvester Turner was inaugurated as Houston’s 62nd mayor.

Following a private swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 2, Monday’s inauguration event celebrated Turner’s victory, along with City Controller Chris Brown and the current City Council.

The inauguration at Jones Hall featured performances by the Houston Symphony, Grammy-winning soloist Yolanda Adams, the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Chorus, the Church Without Walls Choir, and the Carver High School Dance Department.

The new mayor was accompanied by his daughter, Ashley Turner, as he took his oath on the same bible he used when he was first sworn into the Texas Legislature in 1988.

Turner’s long career in Texas politics included a failed 1991 mayoral campaign, which was derailed by allegations of insurance fraud made by Wayne Dolcefino at Channel 13. Turner sued Dolcefino and the station for libel, initially winning $3.25 million before the case was overturned on appeal.

Turner was born and raised in Acres Homes in northwest Houston. His mother, a maid at the Rice Hotel, raised him and his eight siblings after his father’s death when Turner was 13. A Harvard-educated lawyer, Turner has served 13 terms as state representative from the district that encompasses Acres Homes.

“At the end of this day I shall get in my vehicle and return to the home, to the neighborhood, in which I was born and bred,” Turner told the crowd in his inaugural address. “I am committed to this city."

In his address, he outlined his priorities upon entering office, which include addressing the city’s finances and creating a longterm fiscal plan, creating more affordable housing, and reducing flooding.

But his first order of business, if successful, will probably earn him fans on both sides of the aisle.

“I want to announce that two weeks from today, the potholes that are reported to the city’s 311 information line will be assessed and addressed by the next business day,” Turner told the crowd to roaring applause.

“Houstonians deserve safe, viable infrastructure,” Turner said. “It’s critical that our infrastructure keeps pace with our growth and development. Right now we’re playing catch-up.”

Get your dialing fingers ready — Turner said the city’s Public Works department will be tasked with repairing each reported pothole within 24 hours. 

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