By Robbie Owens

by Robbie Owens | CBS 11

MANSFIELD, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s the first day on the job for the new mayor of Mansfield and he’s already starting to sound like a politician.

“I would like for us to expand our park system. I would like for us to make sure that we’re one of the safest cities in the country and we are that,” adds newly-elected Mayor Michael Evans, Sr., before talking about collaborative effort to support the public schools. But, don’t be put off by the word ‘politician’. Mayor Evans is already working to reclaim that as well– saying he sees it as a calling to serve.

“I want them to know, though, that we work for you. We work for the folks. Not the other way around.”

Mansfield Mayor Michael Evans. Sr. (CBS 11)

Evans, the longtime senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, was sworn in Monday, Jan. 11.

He is also the city’s first black mayor.

“I promise you, that I did not run with that as one of the planks in my platform: ‘vote for me, I’m the black guy’,” he adds with a good-hearted laugh. “It is significant because of the history that we once had here in Mansfield. And I think it demonstrates how our city has grown up.”

According to recent census data, the Tarrant county suburb is still roughly 70% white.

Mayor Evans says what matters now, is that race didn’t seem to matter to voters– that his character was of more interest than his color. And that is both progress and perspective.

He says Judge Clifford Davis, who swore him into office, litigated the court case that eventually led to the desegregation of Mansfield schools.

“Let me tell you why that was important,” shared Mayor Evans. “When he left here those many years ago, he left probably with a bad taste in his mouth. I invited him back to Mansfield 2021, so he could see how far we’ve come…so he could see the fruits of his labor. And I recognize that it is because of their bent backs that I get to stand a little higher. And not only me, but young people–no matter who they are, I don’t care what color their skin is, they can say ‘hey we can do this’. And man, that was a proud moment to have him there.”

Along with his dreams for the city, the new mayor must also tackle some challenges like how to manage explosive growth. A city survey is collecting input right now.

“We are going to take their thoughts, their hopes their dreams, and we are going to combine then, put them together, we are going to come up with a common vision, building a target and we are going to shoot for that.”

For those that don’t know him, Mayor Evans says his goal will be to serve all.

“I love Mansfield,” says Evans who says he has grown up in the city. “I don’t care what political persuasion you’re from: the bottom line is we want to grow this community, and we can do that together.  We must do it together.”

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