Karen Bass, a former Democratic congresswoman and speaker of the California State Assembly, was sworn in on Sunday as Los Angeles' 43rd mayor.
Bass, 69, is the first woman and second Black person to hold the position. She was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris.
Los Angeles is at "an inflection point," Bass said, as the city deals with a homelessness crisis, climate change, a shortage of affordable housing, and the coronavirus pandemic. However, she added, "our magic, L.A. magic, it's still here." Bass has vowed to make homelessness a top priority, and called on residents to "welcome housing in every neighborhood."
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) attended the ceremony, telling the Los Angeles Times he was there in the spirit of "optimism, dual opportunity, and partnership. At the end of the day, it's pretty clear the magnitude of some of the challenges we face require working at another level of collaboration and cooperation."
This was a ceremonial event, as Bass was privately sworn in Saturday by the Los Angeles city clerk, the Times reports. She will officially succeed outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Bass said that later in the day, she will declare a state of emergency on homelessness, which will need to be reauthorized every 30 days by the Los Angeles City Council.
"My emergency declaration will recognize the severity of our crisis and break new ground to maximize our ability to urgently move people inside, and do so for good," she said. "It will create the structure necessary for us to have a true, unified, and citywide strategy to set us on the path to solve homelessness."