After a long campaign and a long election night, Alan Webber will finally get his chance.
But he doesn't want to do it alone.
After dubbing his campaign "The Big Tent" and securing endorsement after endorsement and donations large and small, Webber sounded the call for more help on the night he was sworn in as mayor.
"The challenge for us is to use our shared sense of purpose to bend change toward the future we want," Webber told the crowd of several hundred who gathered at the city convention center Monday evening.
"We commit to doing this work, but we need you to commit to helping," Webber urged. "The only way we create the future we want is if you continue to participate. … That's the deal."
Webber has a lot to live up to, after promising a fresh approach to economic development, fair housing and city government itself. In a campaign that ran almost six months and soared above the $500,000 in spending by the candidates, he outpaced the field of four other candidates, but needed every round of the city's new ranked-choice voting system to top Ron Trujillo, who finished second to Webber's eventual 66 percent of the vote.
Echoes of Trujillo's basic-services-first campaign were present in Webber's inaugural address. "We commit to doing the work to invest in ourselves," he told the crowd, "… all the amenities that will make Santa Fe the place where you and your families choose to make your home."
But the new mayor, who turns 70 this year, is keen to look to the future and in a hurry to cement a reputation as a Progressive with vision, but also with pragmatic approach to running a city.
Webber wasn't alone in asking for help from the people who elected him. Several other councilors sounded similar themes.
"We have a limited amount of time in which to make a difference. Please join me in trying," District 1 Councilor Signe Lindell said.
"Please stay engaged," newly elected District 2 Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth told voters from her district as well as those city-wide. "I want and need your input."
Roman Abeyta, who cleared the field in District 3 before Election Day and ran unopposed, gave a hint of the size of the task ahead of the governing body, which features three new faces and a new mayor. He pledged to not approve housing developments on the Southside until school overcrowding is addressed, to press for regular street and sidewalk maintenance and regular police patrols through neighbors far from the downtown Plaza.
"Our community is divided," Abeyta told the crowd, while reminding them that he endorsed, and actively campaigned for, Alan Webber.
He also warned against being quick to dismiss the work of the City Council if voters didn't see sweeping changes on day one. "Judge us by the changes we make at City Hall," Abeyta said.
Serving alongside him will be new District 4 City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler, who laughed that after a tough campaign, the new post didn't seem real.
"I want to thank you for being in my reality show," Vigil Coppler joked. "I don't know when it ends, though I suspect it ends tonight at midnight. Then the real reality sets in."
New city councilors will earn $34,008 for their work. As Santa Fe's first full-time mayor, Webber will make $110,000 annually.
After his speech, as Webber was shaking hands and getting hugs on day one of his administration, outgoing Mayor Javier Gonzales was sneaking out a service door at the back of the convention center.
Clearly anxious to go, Gonzales turned to a reporter as he hustled out.
"I need to give him his parking space," he said.
This story has been updated to clarify that the five mayoral candidates together spent more than $500,000. Alan Webber spent more than $300,000 as of the last campaign finance report.