Karen Bass sworn in as Los Angeles mayor, the first woman to hold the office
After 241 years, the nation’s second-largest city has its first female mayor.
The mood was jubilant Sunday afternoon, as thousands of Angelenos danced to a surprise Stevie Wonder performance and cheered while Karen Bass was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris as Los Angeles’ 43rd mayor.
The crowds inside downtown’s Microsoft Theater exploded into applause after Harris said the words “Madam mayor” and remained on their feet as Bass walked to the podium.
Bass used her history-making moment to emphasize her place within a constellation of barrier-breaking California women.
The first Black woman elected mayor of Los Angeles was joined by the first female vice president, the first woman to lead the California Senate and California’s first female lieutenant governor.
Harris is also the first Black or Asian American vice president, and Senate President pro tempore Toni G. Atkins is the first openly LGBTQ person to lead the statehouse’s upper chamber.
Bass honored Harris, Atkins and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis as she began her remarks, saying, “Making history with each of you today is a monumental moment in my life and in Los Angeles. The four of us — Californians, leaders, women.
“And let’s not forget our all-female county Board of Supervisors! We are all going to make so much history together,” Bass said.
Bass’ remarks described the moment as an “inflection point” in the history of a city battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, a rapidly changing economy and high cost of living, climate change and the homelessness crisis. But, she said, “L.A. magic is still here.”
She spoke to the deep difficulties faced by working families on the margins and urged Angelenos “to welcome housing in every neighborhood.”