HOUSTON (AP) — The first official candidate has entered the race to become the next mayor of Houston.

The Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1uQNp4W ) reports that Chris Bell, a former city councilman and one-term Democratic congressman, formally announced his campaign for mayor on Sunday.

The race to replace term-limited Mayor Annise Parker is expected to be wide-open and hotly contested.

Bell, a Democrat, vowed to modernize how the city fills potholes and fixes sidewalks. He believes infrastructure is the issue that will persuade Houston voters to cast a ballot for him in November.

Several other candidates have signaled that they'll join Bell in the field. Those include state Rep. Sylvester Turner and city councilmen Oliver Pennington and Stephen Costello.