Seattle's New Gay Mayor, Socialist Council Member Sworn Into Office

Jan 6, 2014

Seattle’s new Mayor Ed Murray and city council member Kshama Sawant promised to work to improve the city as they took their oaths of office on Monday.

Hundreds gathered to watch the city’s first gay mayor and first modern-day Socialist council member, who were among several city leaders sworn into office during a public ceremony.

The crowd erupted as Sawant, who campaigned on a promise of $15 minimum wage, was sworn in by a personal friend.

"Capitalism has failed the 99 percent,” Sawant said during her inaugural speech. "In this system, the market is God, and everything is sacrificed at the altar of profit.”

Sawant vowed to work for “the disenfranchised, the poor and the oppressed.”

“Despite recent talk of economic growth, it’s only been a recovery for the 1 percent while the rest of us are fall farther behind,” said Sawant. “To change all this, we need organized mass movements of workers and young people relying on their own independent strength.”

Murray took his oath using a 19th century Irish Bible while holding a rosary his grandmother brought when she immigrated to the U.S. Former Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke administered the oath for the new mayor.

“Seattle is a place that deeply believes in the idea of inclusiveness and collaboration,” Murray said during his inaugural speech. “Our diversity is our strength. There is no challenge Seattle faces that it cannot solve if we act as a community."

Murray pledged to confront the divisions and disparities that fragment the city. He also promised to reform the police department, address the city’s transportation needs and improve sustainability. 

"We live at a moment in history when the ability of the government to function has been called into question. I reject that cynicism," Murray said. "Government can function again, and Seattle can lead the way."

Also sworn into office Monday were other Seattle City Council members as well as Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes.