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Ken Mathew Becomes First Indian American, First Person of Color to be Sworn-in Mayor of Stafford, Texas

Ken Mathew Becomes First Indian American, First Person of Color to be Sworn-in Mayor of Stafford, Texas

  • In the June 12 runoff, the Kerala native defeated incumbent Cecil Willis  by 14 votes.

Ken Mathew wants to support Stafford, Texas’ status as the largest in the state, and pursue policies that would enhance and attract new retail business to the city. The longtime Stafford resident and city councilman was sworn in earlier this month as mayor, becoming the first Indian American and first person of color to lead the city.

The Kerala native was surrounded by his family members, friends, and city officials in the “standing-room-only special meeting on June 20,” the Fort Bend Star reported. He was sworn in by Missouri City Mayor Robin Elackatt, also an Indian American, the report said. In attendance were Fort Bend County Judge KP George, state Reps. Suleman Lalani and Ron Reynolds, and Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers, among others, the report said. 

In the June 12 runoff, Mathew, a retired financial professional, narrowly defeated incumbent Cecil Willis by 14 votes. He received 500 votes compared to 486 for Willis, according to results on the Fort Bend County election site.

Speaking at the swearing-in, Mathew told the gathering he was “humbled,” by the win. “We have run our campaign without being negative,” he said. “I wish to thank all the people of Stafford for having confidence in me. This is a historical event.” He said he was “so glad to have taken the oath of office” on the same day India was marking the holiday known as “The Procession of Saints,” according to the Fort Bend Star. 

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Mathew has lived in Stafford for 41 years and served on the City Council for 17 years, after being elected in 2006. He served Position 6 until his term expired in May. During his tenure, he served on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission for several years before then. 

He immigrated to the United States in the 1970s after earning a degree from the University of Bombay (now the University of Mumbai), according to the Fort Bend Star. “Since his wife was attending the University of Detroit, he also decided to go there, eventually earning an MBA,” the Star said. He worked as an accountant and financial executive for several corporations, including Toshiba in the Houston area. He has lived in Stafford since 1982. He has been married for 48 years; he and his wife have two daughters and five grandchildren.

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