New York City’s new mayor Bill de Blasio was sworn into office Wednesday with an oath administered by former President Bill Clinton in a public ceremony at city hall.
In his inaugural address, de Blasio thanked outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg for guiding the city through the past 12 years and firmly laid out his agenda, promising to raise taxes on the wealthy and address what he termed the “quiet crisis” of widening income inequality in the city.
“Big dreams are not a luxury reserved for the privileged few but the animating force in every community in every borough,” he said. “Today we commit to a new progressive direction in New York.”
“Let me be clear: When I said I would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it,” he said.
De Blasio is the first Democrat to hold the office since David Dinkins’ term ended in 1993, despite the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city by roughly 6 to 1. His rise has been celebrated as a victory for progressives. He officially took over his mayoral duties at midnight Wednesday morning in a private ceremony at his Park Slope home officiated by Attorney General Eric Holder.
De Blasio enters office at a time when the city of 8.4 million is safer and cleaner than ever but grappling with a legacy of controversial law-enforcement practices, like the stop-and-frisk program, and widening income inequality symbolized in the city’s outgoing billionaire mayor Bloomberg.
De Blasio worked in the Clinton Administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development and as the director of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for Senate in New York.