by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
Ed Murray was sworn in as Mayor of Seattle in front of a raucous capacity crowd in the lobby of City Hall on January 6. Former governor and U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke, and Murray's husband Michael Shiosaki administered the oath of office.
For the oath, Murray used a 19th century Irish Bible and a rosary inherited from his grandmother, recalling his Irish Catholic roots.
Then, in a speech quoting both Franklin Roosevelt and his childhood hero Jack Kennedy, Murray promised to make City government work.
'We live in a moment in history where government and its ability to function have been called into question,' Murray said.
'I reject that cynicism. Government can function again, and Seattle can lead the way.
'We can be a national model for a renewed respect for public service and a new appreciation for the role of government as a positive force for change in our lives.
'I see government not as the problem, but government as a partner in solving the problems we face.'
Murray had already moved on one of his key campaign issues.
On January 3, two days after taking office, he issued an executive order increasing the minimum wage for City of Seattle employees to $15 an hour. Some 600 City employees benefitted from the move.
In his speech, Murray vigorously denied that lifting the wages of the city's poorest workers would jeopardize business interests.
'Political debate too often lends support to the false idea that creating a vibrant economy and taking care of those in need are somehow conflicting goals,' Murray explained at his inauguration.
'They are not - they are intertwined and interdependent.'
Noting that Seattle is 'fragmented by race, by gender, by economics, by geography, and by education,' Murray pledged - as he did during his campaign - to work for 'inclusiveness and collaboration.'
A mere two days after the inauguration ceremony, Murray moved forward on yet another campaign theme, reshuffling the Seattle police command and sending a letter to SPD officers telling them in no uncertain terms that he intends to go forward with police reform. A 2011 finding by the U.S. Justice Department accused SPD of biased policing and excessive use of force.
Murray also promised 'a world class transit system,' a 'vibrant park system, sidewalks, bike lanes,' and a renovated waterfront.
Addressing state and county officials, who were often at odds with his predecessor Mike McGinn, Murray promised that 'Seattle will once again become a leader - and your partner - on regional issues.'
Murray concluded his speech with a quote from JFK's inaugural address:
'All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the lifetime of this administration; nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.'
The formal inauguration ceremony is usually held in the sedate atmosphere of the City Council chambers, but this year the event was moved to the City Hall lobby to accommodate media and the expected crowds of well-wishers.
In addition to Murray, Seattle's first openly Gay Mayor, Kshama Sawant, the city's first socialist City Council member since the 1920s, was also sworn in.
Murray invited about 1,000 friends and supporters, and Sawant also claimed to have about 1,000 supporters, carrying her red campaign signs. Another large contingent was made up of for-hire drivers, who carried signs demanding the right to pick up passengers who hail them on the street - as taxi drivers may - instead of having to rely on advance phone calls to schedule rides.
In addition to Murray and Sawant, City Council members Sally Bagshaw, Nick Licata, and Mike O'Brien, and City Attorney Pete Holmes were sworn in.
Prior to the City Hall ceremony, Murray had a day of public appearances. He breakfasted with homeless women and children at Mary's Place, an emergency shelter. He, his staff, and department directors toured the race exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. Murray also attended mass at the Seattle University St. Ignatius Chapel.
After the inauguration, Murray held an inaugural ball, funded by his campaign committee, at Benaroya Hall.
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