Bill Clinton Swears in New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio
As leader of the United States' largest city, the New York City mayor's role is a big one. Bill de Blasio was officially sworn as New York City mayor by former President Bill Clinton on Jan. 1, and he marks a major shift for the metropolis. Even though there has been unprecedented growth for the super-rich under Michael Bloomberg's administration, New York has also seen its homeless shelter population rise to a record high of 50,000.
In addition to both Bill and Hillary Clinton and other high-profile supporters, 1,000 tickets were available for ordinary New Yorkers to attend the inauguration.
De Blasio, former public advocate for the city, and his family appear to be polar opposites to Bloomberg: The family of four lives in Brooklyn, and they are very open about race, inequality, and daughter Chiara's struggles with drugs and depression. The de Blasios even took the subway to City Hall for the official inauguration. In his speech, de Blasio vowed to close the staggering inequality gap — "the tale of two cities" — separating the very poor and very rich in New York.
“We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love. And so today, we commit to a new progressive direction in New York. And that same progressive impulse has written our city’s history. It’s in our DNA.”
De Blasio's progressive liberalism is embraced by many fed up with policies from Bloomberg's tenure — including the controversial NYPD stop-and-frisk law. As The New York Times reports:
In Mr. de Blasio, a wily, image-conscious strategist who had lagged far behind in polls just weeks before the Democratic primary, advocates on the left see a unique aligning of the stars: a champion of their values who is also a shrewd and cunning practitioner, stepping into office at a time when the national debate over inequality and social justice has reached a fever pitch.
But some express caution: “This is the truth of mayors and governors: Until you sit in the chair, you don’t really know,” said former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, an early de Blasio supporter. “He’s going to find out that he can’t keep all of his promises, through no fault of his own.”
The inauguration was not without some controversy, however. A statement from the chaplain of the city's sanitation department (that's an actual job?) raised some eyebrows when he compared New York to a "plantation."
De Blasio handily captured the mayorship on Nov. 5 over the Republican candidate, Joseph Lhota.