Texas has elected its first black female sheriff, who beat out a strong Republican challenger.

Zena Stephens was elected Jefferson County Sheriff over opposing party Ray Beck in a close election, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“I think it is important, because I never saw anybody who looked like me in this role, or as a police chief, when I was growing up,” Stephens said. “And so the idea, not just for girls but for any minority, that you can obtain these jobs at this level, I think that’s important. And it’s important for these jobs in law enforcement and any job to reflect the community they serve.”

Stephens told the Houston Chronicle that she will tackle concerns within the department first.

“Anytime you institute change, there may be some opposition to that, but I understand that, and I don’t plan to get in there and make any sweeping changes,” Stephens said.

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