Michelle Wu was sworn in Tuesday as Boston's first woman and first person of color elected mayor in the city's long history.
The swearing-in of the city's first Asian American mayor came two weeks after Wu won the city's mayoral election. Before Wu, Boston had elected only white men as mayor.
"City government is special. We are the level closest to the people, so we must do the big and the small. Every streetlight, every pothole, every park and classroom, lays the foundation for greater change," Wu said after taking the oath of office.
"After all, Boston was founded on a revolutionary promise: that things don't have to be as they always have been. That we can chart a new path for families now, and for generations to come, grounded in justice and opportunity," she said.
Wu, 36, takes over for a fellow Democrat — former acting Mayor Kim Janey — who was Boston's first woman and first Black resident to serve in, but who was not elected to, the top post.
Wu said when she first set foot inside the cavernous Boston City Hall, she felt swallowed up by the maze of concrete hallways, checkpoints and looming counters — all reminders of why her immigrant family tried to steer clear of such spaces.
But she said her family's struggles eventually brought her to an internship with former Mayor Thomas Menino and ultimately a seat on the Boston City Council where, she said, she learned the ropes of city government and politics.
"Today I know City Hall's passageways and stairwells like my own home," she said.
The swearing-in means Wu will now face the daunting task of trying to make good on a slew of ambitious policy proposals that were the backbone of her campaign.
To push back against soaring housing costs that have forced some former residents out of the city, Wu has promised to pursue rent stabilization or rent control. The biggest hurdle to that proposal is the fact that Massachusetts voters narrowly approved a 1994 ballot question banning rent control statewide.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.