Beneath the ho-hum and the celebration is a city still struggling to recover from Hurricane Harvey.
At front and center is Mayor Sylvester Turner. Whatever vision he had coming into office dramatically changed after Harvey devastated his city in late August.
“It does change everything,” Turner told me Friday, “because now we’re looking at several billion dollars” in recovery for Harris County “and a little over $2 billion for the city alone. People are in homes that need to be rehabilitated or rebuilt, and we have about 9,000 [displaced residents] in hotels.”
It’s dire. And yet, it’s one of those moments when a leader steps up or fades away.
Turner’s command of this crisis was criticized in the early stages because he refused to order 2.3 million Houstonians to evacuate. But he has been steadfast in working to get the nation’s fourth-largest city back on its feet.
His grace under fire and dedication to the long road ahead make Houston’s 62nd mayor my choice for 2017 Texan of the Year.