Former US President Bill Clinton (left) introduces newly elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (centre) and his wife Chirlane McCray at City Hall in New York yesterday.
NEW YORK: Bill de Blasio, an unabashed liberal Democrat who campaigned to reduce the gap between New York City’s rich and poor, was formally inaugurated yesterday as the city’s 109th mayor at a ceremony on the steps of City Hall.
Former US President Bill Clinton administered the oath of office using a Bible once used by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
De Blasio had been sworn in earlier, just after midnight, at a ceremony at his home in Brooklyn.
He succeeds Michael Bloomberg, who led the city in the aftermath of the attacks of Sept 11, 2001 and the recession six years later. Bloomberg’s policies have been credited with making the city safer, greener and more livable.
Bloomberg, who is leaving City Hall after 12 years, has said he plans to take a two-week vacation in Hawaii and New Zealand with his longtime girlfriend, Diana Taylor. Then, the billionaire, who has homes in Bermuda and London, has said he will focus on his charitable foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and remain active in public health, gun control and government innovation.
Running for office, de Blasio presented himself as an anti-Bloomberg candidate, decrying the “tale of two cities” that he said has emerged as New York shed its reputation, from the 1970s and 1980s, as a gritty and dangerous place. After a resounding victory in November with more than 70 percent of the vote, de Blasio pledged to confront an affordability gap that has left those in the middle and bottom rungs of the economic ladder struggling to pay for basic services such as housing and mass transit. “When I said we would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it. And we will do it,” de Blasio said in excerpts of his inaugural speech released beforehand. REUTERS