Muriel Bowser brought a message to her inauguration at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Friday morning: Things are going to be different around here.
“It’s a new day in Washington,” Bowser said. “A fresh start for all of the families that call D.C. home.”
Just what the fresh start consists of isn’t clear, but the District certainly is getting something new. Along with Bowser, new attorney general Karl Racine and three new councilmembers—-Ward 1’s Brianne Nadeau, Ward 6’s Charles Allen, and at-large Councilmember Elissa Silverman—- were sworn in. They’ll all face a newly active and Republican Congress, a change that prompted Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton to say “cheer up, D.C.!”
Much of Bowser’s speech focused on reducing income inequality and violence. Bowser also listed a series of challenges for her administration, from a $203 million budget deficit to “ballooning construction costs.”
While Bowser has scrapped with D.C. Council chairman Phil Mendelson in her final months in the Ward 4 seat, she promised to keep up a “continued friendship” with the chairman. For his part, though, Mendelson warned that he opposed the progress-at-any-cost mentality that marked Bowser mentor Adrian Fenty‘s administration by quoting Fenty schools boss Michelle Rhee.
“I do not believe, as a former chancellor once said, that collaboration and consensus building are way overrated,” Mendelson said. “Rather, the only way to achieve deep and lasting reform is through collaboration and consensus building.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery