Regional accents aside, it was hard to tell a handful of new big mayors apart during their respective inauguration day addresses. All delivered the requisite amounts of civic pride and personal gratitude for having reached the mayor's office. But the incoming mayors all struck similar themes around income equality, social justice, reforms of city government, education and health care.
We have produced video digests of the innauguration addresses in New York, Boston, Pittsburgh and Seattle. Trust us, they are all really grateful for their respective family's love and support. The digest focus on new mayos' policy objectives and expectations for their cities. We'll start on the east coast and make our way to the pacific northwest.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
Former President Bill Clinton administered the oath of office to New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, who declared a progressive agenda as the city moves into the post-Bloomberg era. He pledged to reconcile what he sees as two cities - one for the rich, the other for the struggling middle class and poor - into a shared place where they can all build a future.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh
Martin Walsh, son of Irish immigrants, made much of his personal biography and the city's revolutionary history as he promised to listen closely to the people of Boston's diverse neighborhoods as he was sworn into the mayor's office, which had been held by long serving Thomas Menino for two decades.
In his inauguration speech, Walsh pledged to improve schools, reduce crime and reform the city's slow and onerous development process. Promising a term characterized by progress and collaboration, Walsh made three essential promises - "I will listen, I will learn, I will lead."
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
Bill Peduto said his administration "will be the first progressive administration for a rust-belt city in America." The new mayor believes Pittsburgh is turning around after decades of economic decline, made worse by political corruption and mismanagement in city government. In his inaugural address, he focused on a series of reforms intended to earn back public trust by public institutions tainted by scandal.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray
Ed Murray - a veteran of almost two decades in the Washington state legislature - stressed Seattle's global reputation for entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation in his inaugural remarks, saying that city's economic success is not at odds with his administration's commitment to redressing wage disparity, housing affordability and public transportation. He advocated a pragmatic path for both seizing opportunities for continued growth and for fully embracing federally-mandated reforms to the Seattle Police Department. Seattle's first openly gay mayor, Murray credited his success to the city's tradition of progressive politics.
Still in Seattle...
The innaugural was a standing-room only affair in Seattle even after being moved from the city council chambers to the main lobby of city hall, which accomodated 1,200 cheering friends and supporters of Murray and the city councilors being sworn in that day.
The kind of pragmatic, progressive politics practiced by Murray and many Democratic Party activists came in for a blistering attack by socialist Counicilmember Kshama Sawant, who was also sworn in at the same ceremony. Sawant, a former college economics professor, saved her harshest criticism for international capitalism.