NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ State Sen. Toni Harp acknowledged her place in New Haven history on Wednesday as she was sworn in as the city’s 50th mayor.
Harp, a Democrat, becomes the first new chief elected official of the Elm City in 20 years, replacing Democrat John DeStefano Jr., who chose not to run for re-election.
She also is the first woman to hold the office and among 138 black women leading U.S. cities, according to the National Conference of Black Mayors.
“But I will tell you today, with all due respect to New Haven’s extraordinary history and with a nod to our city’s political place in American history, I am more excited about New Haven and its prospects for the next two years,” she said. “This term ahead represents New Haven’s unwritten history. None of us has ever been here before.”
Harp outlined a vision for the city that includes a better partnership with industry, law enforcement based on expanded community policing and a rebuilding of the city’s sea wall to protect residents from storms.
Harp was lauded by numerous dignitaries including members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, all of whom referenced the groundbreaking nature of her election.
“The (glass) ceiling is broken, progress is being made and new leadership is being installed,” Malloy said. “These are remarkable times that we are living in this very moment.”
An inauguration ceremony was held at noon at Hill Regional Career High School, a building designed by Harp’s late husband, architect Wendell Harp, who died in 2011.
Besides the new mayor, the new city clerk and all 30 members of the Board of Aldermen were sworn into office.
Harp has served in the Connecticut Senate since 1993, representing the 10th senatorial district. A special election is required to fill her seat, which she plans to vacate.
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