Kempner swears in first African-American mayor
KEMPNER, Texas (KWTX) Tuesday evening marked a historic swearing in in Kempner. The first African-American now sits in the mayor's seat.
“I believe if it's your city, we should hear your voice,” says Keith Harvey.
He's the first one to do so in the city's more than hundred-years of history.
By way of Fort Hood, Harvey found a home two decades ago in the small city of just over a thousand.
“I wanted something different. I wanted something with more room, more space, something quiet,” he says.
This was his second time running for office. This year he was unopposed after the city's first female mayor, Carolyn Crane, chose not to run for a third term.
“I said once I got out, I wanted to put my hand on the pulse of the city and actually get something done,” adds Harvey.
For the past few years, Kempner has been plagued with water issues- contamination and rising costs- problems he says as a resident he has seen firsthand and wants to fix.
He says the main problem is their only being one company that services the city.
“Give people water that's suitable, update all the equipment,” he says the council has to take on a more active role in addressing the issue. “[We have to] actively engage with the water company- no more filibustering.”
He credits the city council with addressing the challenges of a small community, but also wants to bring it into 2019.
“There's a lot of avenues the city is not just aware of, social media being one. A big goal of mine is to live stream the council meetings. We have a great amount of people that are elderly- they can't make it out, so we want things made available to them,” he adds.
Harvey says he plans to serve as a model for pushing the city forward and hopes to set a new trend of more firsts in the city's history books
“Being the last- that's a problem,” he adds.
Harvey also adds that one of his top priorities is to bring the community together. One of his first acts as mayor will be holding the first celebrate Kempner Fest on June 8th.