Madame Mayor
Madame Mayor Nate Gowdy

Former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan on Tuesday took the oath of office, becoming the 56th mayor of Seattle and first woman to hold the position since the Jazz Age.

Durkan was sworn in by U.S. District Judge Richard Jones before a crowd of public officials, supporters and reporters at the Ethiopian Community Center in Rainier Beach.

In a standard-fare political speech that lasted 12 minutes, Durkan echoed themes from her campaign, heralding the historic aspect of her election, stressing the importance of tackling the city’s affordability crisis, and pledging to fight back against the Trump administration.

"Whether you voted for me or not, I am your mayor and I will fight for you as hard as I fight for everyone else in this city," Durkan said. "I believe we can come together to build a more progressive, inclusive and united Seattle that is for the next generation as much as we have for our generation."

Her ceremony in the Rainier Valley marked the first of five swearing-in events scheduled today throughout the city. Setting the tone for an administration that aspires to develop close ties with neighborhoods beyond downtown, Durkan is also slated to take the mayoral Oath of Office in West Seattle, the Chinatown-International District, Phinney Ridge and Lake City.

"I am here in Rainier Beach because I wanted to break tradition," Durkan said in her speech. "I wanted to show that what I said in the campaign I really meant. We will be the government, and I will be a mayor not of City Hall, but of the people."

She plans to sign two executive orders throughout the day, too. One involves her campaign promise to implement a rent vouchers program for lower income residents to help them pay for housing. She pledged to give assistance to everyone on the Seattle Housing Authority’s waiting list that does not have preferential status. A second executive order related to the city's race and social justice initiative.

UPDATE: Durkan took the oath of office again in West Seattle, this time administered by King County Executive Dow Constantine. She also signed an executive order putting the wheels in motion to fulfill a campaign promise to implement a city-funded rental voucher program.

"This executive order is to put in place a rental housing assistance program, to increase the affordability for Seattle, to help those people who are just one missed check away from losing their homes and to make sure those who have waited the longest and are really struggling know they will have a place in Seattle," she said during the ceremony.

The order creates a new team—composed of employees from the Office of Housing, the Human Services Department and City Budget Office—to develop a rental assistance program for low income families. Noting that there are about 149 families on the public housing waitlist that are deprioritized due their income, the order calls for the city to expedite those families' enrollment in public benefits programs to reduce housing and living costs. The new team will also have until January 12 to propose a pilot program for rental assistance.

Durkan's order also asks housing officials to expedite a tax exemption for multi-family property owners if they advertise those properties to families on the public housing waitlist and families with rental vouchers.

Finally, the order also calls for the city to develop centralized portal for public benefits like the Utility Discount Program, Fresh Bucks, Child Care Assistance Program and the Vehicle License Rebate Program.

UPDATE: Durkan took the oath of office again in Chinatown-International District, this time administered by Ruthann Kurose. She gave mostly the same speech. Durkan also signed an executive order reaffirming the City's commitment to its 2004 Race and Social Justice initiative and calling for herself, all department heads and employees of the Office of the Mayor to undergo implicit bias training.