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BOSTON — Michelle Wu ’07 was sworn in as the first female and person of color elected mayor by the city of Boston during a brief ceremony in the Boston City Council chamber Tuesday.
“I am so honored to stand here in this chamber, that has meant so much to me, as your next mayor,” Wu said after taking the oath of office, two weeks following her historic election. “I learned the ropes of city government and politics on this floor, held the gavel on this floor, nursed babies on this floor.”
Though she said she initially felt “swallowed up” and “invisible” upon first entering city hall, the space now feels like home.
Wu is the first woman and first person of color popularly elected mayor of Boston. Kim M. Janey, Wu’s predecessor, was the first woman of color to hold the office after former Mayor Martin J. Walsh left the post before his term ended to join Joe Biden’s cabinet as secretary of labor. Janey, as Boston City Council president, became acting mayor.
Wu is also the first Harvard College alum in nearly 100 years to serve as mayor of Boston.
Wu’s swearing-in, scheduled to last an hour, concluded roughly fifteen minutes early — which Council President Matthew O’Malley called an “indication of the efficient government that Mayor Wu will run.”
Among those in attendance were Janey, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — Wu’s former Harvard Law School professor and an early endorser of her campaign — U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), U.S. Rep. Ayanna S. Pressley (D-Mass.), and Governor Charlie D. Baker '79.
During the transfer-of-power meeting, Janey congratulated her successor.
“As I leave office now as mayor, I feel good knowing that you share my love and my passion for Boston.” Janey said. “I’m confident that you will lead our city with integrity, and that you will center equity in all that you do.”
“I am so proud to call you Madam Mayor,” she added.
In a press conference following the inauguration, Wu said she would encourage students inspired by her example to “step up and serve” those around them.
“We need you now, we need your leadership in this moment,” Wu said. “I look forward to opening those doors and making sure that as many of our young people as possible are sitting in seats of decision making.”
Jovita Solorio-Fielder, a student at the Graduate School of Education, said she is glad to see representation in Boston’s highest office.
“Just knowing that I can always point to her as an example of leadership is really cool,” Solorio-Fielder said. “She's going to have an impact and also be a role model for so many other young women and young people of color.”
—Staff writer Brandon L. Kingdollar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @newskingdollar.
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