Festive Swearing In: Sugar Land welcomes 10th mayor & new councilmember

Mayor Joe Zimmerman and his wife, Nancy, at this month’s swearing in ceremony.

Mayor Joe Zimmerman and his wife, Nancy, at this month’s swearing in ceremony.

New city Mayor Joe Zimmerman becomes Sugar Land’s 10th mayor and with first lady, Nancy, “we look forward to leading your city,” said Mayor Zimmerman. Zimmerman and Mary Joyce, his successor as the elected city council member At Large Position Two, were administered the oath of office last week on June 21st during a city council meeting following the canvassing and certification of the votes of the June 11th runoff election.

Zimmerman, a familiar face in Sugar Land’s city government, is at the helm of the nation’s first city to be named a “Community of Respect” by the Anti-Defamation League for its commitment to foster an inclusive and respectful community rejecting prejudice and promoting an appreciation for diversity. “Make no mistake, this election was about the future of the City of Sugar Land,” said Mayor Zimmerman, and “going forward, I ask that we all unite as a community.”

Mayor James Thompson asks newly sworn in council member Mary Joyce to address the audience at his last city council meeting serving in his official capacity.

Mayor James Thompson asks newly sworn in council member Mary Joyce to address the audience at his last city council meeting serving in his official capacity.

Zimmerman and Joyce represent two changes in the city’s policy making governmental body, while the other incumbents and recently re-elected Himesh Gandhi sworn into office last month, settle in for their terms of office. On the horizon is the city’s update of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan, which together with public feedback will identify future needs of what is called quality of life essentials.

It’s important to note that when Zimmerman and Joyce were sworn in, the feel in the standing room only council chambers was joyous and celebratory as evidenced by cheering among the applause from the audience. It was as if residents in attendance wanted to be a part of that moment in time, both bidding outgoing Mayor James Thompson farewell and extending a heartfelt welcome to Mayor Zimmerman and Councilmember Joyce.

Mayor Zimmerman fittingly thanked his wife, Nancy of 40 years, and other family members present as well as supporters. He acknowledged the role of Mayor Thompson and his wife, Gay, for whom “without their unselfish service as citizens to the City of Sugar Land, we wouldn’t be here,” referring to them as ambassadors for the city. Thompson’s term limited tenure as mayor began in 2008.

Mayor Joe Zimmerman and his wife, Nancy, at this month’s swearing in ceremony.

Mayor Joe Zimmerman and his wife, Nancy, at this month’s swearing in ceremony.

Team Sugar Land “are extraordinary people, who serve our residents and provide us with exceptional services we’ve all come to expect,” commended Mayor Zimmerman with a roll call of the city’s workforce functions in public safety, community development, management services, economic development, legal and public affairs. “Together we’ll keep moving the City of Sugar Land forward and exceed the expectations of all of our citizens.”

Joyce singled out the support of her husband, Justin of 31 years, who served 30 years in the Sugar Land Police Department, and she thanked the many other supporters.

“Anybody who knows me knows how much I love this city,” she said. Former council members like Russell Jones and Dennis Parmer, mentioned and present at the ceremony, are “the ones before us having done an excellent job and I would hope and strive to do as well,” said Joyce.

Cameras clicked, poses with the new and outgoing city leaders as selfies and with assorted groups seemed non-stop, both before the council meeting and also after the swearing in ceremony. All in all, the evening in the council chambers felt like a community party, it was festive.

The Fort Bend Star bids farewell to Mayor James Thompson and extends its best wishes to Mayor Joe Zimmerman and Councilmember Mary Joyce.

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