DETROIT (AP) His voice hoarse from little sleep and a lot of cheering, newly elected mayor Kwame Kilpatrick yesterday talked about revamping the police department, improving neighborhoods and creating the type of city that can compete with the world.

From college football player to school teacher to state representative, Kilpatrick, at age 31, embarks on the latest in a whirlwind political career, becoming one of the youngest elected mayors of Detroit.

It”s a job that comes with a laundry list of challenges, further compounded by an estimated multimillion-dollar budget shortfall.

The state House Democratic leader defeated City Council president Gil Hill on Tuesday. He replaces Mayor Dennis Archer, who announced in April he would not seek a third term. With 91 percent of precincts reporting yesterday, Kilpatrick had 104,287 votes or 54 percent to Hill”s 88,992 votes or 46 percent.

Kilpatrick has grown up with politics. His father is Bernard Kilpatrick, chief of staff to Wayne County executive Ed McNamara and a former Wayne County commissioner. His mother is U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. He takes congratulatory phone calls from Al Gore and Dick Gephardt.

When he was done talking to Gephardt on yesterday, he passed the phone to his mother, telling Gephardt, “my mom wants to talk to you a little bit.”

Rep. John Hansen (D-Dexter), said Kilpatrick has worked to bring Democrats and Republicans in the House together and has taught leadership skills to people who are almost twice his age.

“I think Detroit has a future. Kwame represents the future. The man is born to lead,” Hansen said.

But leading the city of Detroit, with its declining population, high crime rate, broken street lights, poor transportation system and thousands of abandoned structures will be a different challenge.

Political analysts suggested before the election that campaign promises would immediately be broken because of a projected $33 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year.

Kilpatrick acknowledged the tough road ahead.

“We”ll never experience the kind of incredible ups and incredible downs as we”ll face in the next four, eight, 12 years,” Kilpatrick said. But he said that during his campaign he always stressed organization, which “costs nothing.”

“We want to spend our first 180 days on organization, making sure the city works. We can”t compete and we”ll never have any money if the city isn”t organized,” Kilpatrick said.

He lists education, neighborhoods and the city”s beleaguered police department as areas ripe for restructuring.

Improving the police department, he said, includes taking officers from task forces and putting them back into precincts, making commanders accountable and working with federal authorities.

The police department is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over fatal shootings by Detroit officers, prisoner deaths in lockups and allegations that detectives illegally detained potential homicide witnesses.

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