A Wichita native has been sworn in as the new mayor of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Keith James is a 1975 graduate of East High School and he has lived in West Palm Beach for over 30 years.   He told KFDI News he served as student body president and was on the debate team, and he worked as a teenager at a couple of local restaurants and learned the value of hard work.  James said he was raised by a single mom who taught him the value of education, and he said the values of hard work and education have helped him in public service.

James said when he was considering the run for West Palm Beach mayor, he talked with former Wichita mayor Carl Brewer, who he met through activities at the National League of Cities.   James had served as a city commissioner in West Palm Beach from 2011 through this year.

James said his mother got a job promotion and moved from Wichita to Dallas, so he doesn’t have family in Wichita any longer.  He said he plans to return to Wichita for a visit at some point, and he likes to look at best practices of other communities across the U.S.   He said public safety is one of his top priorities in West Palm Beach, and he said the city is facing challenges from traffic congestion, a shortage of affordable housing for local workers, and a growing problem of homelessness.

James said he still cheers for the Shockers and he was disappointed to see the loss by the men’s basketball team in the semifinals of the NIT.