Jenny Durkan was sworn in as Seattle's 56th mayor Tuesday in a ceremony at the Ethiopian Community Center, directing pointed remarks to President Trump in her opening remarks.
“The people of Seattle and this mayor of Seattle will not be bullied and we will not be told what to do. We’re not spoiling for a fight, but we will not back down from a fight,” she said. “We are not going to let anyone stand in the way of our progressive future.”
During a whirlwind tour through Seattle’s neighborhoods Tuesday, Durkan focused on issues of affordability, homelessness and racial equality in the city.
“The crisis of affordability is threatening the soul of this city,” she said.
Durkan aimed to begin addressing some of those issues in her first acts as mayor. Shortly after taking office, she signed two executive orders.
One calls for a new pilot program to provide rental assistance to low-income households in need. The other re-affirms the city’s commitment to its Race and Social Justice Initiative, and commits to a review of the initiative’s implementation.
On Wednesday, Durkan is also expected to announce the creation of a program that would offer two years of free community college to all graduates of the city's public high schools.
Durkan takes office just three weeks after being elected. She quickly assembled a 61-member transition team which had less than two weeks to set priorities for Durkan's turn at Seattle's helm.
The city has had four mayors serve this year.
Former Mayor Ed Murray resigned amid allegations of child sexual abuse in September. Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell was placed in the position temporarily for five days before being replaced by Tim Burgess, a longtime City Council member who had decided not to run for reelection.
Burgess introduced Durkan at the inauguration ceremony by saying that he was “delighted” Durkan was elected by Seattle citizens.
In his farewell address last week, Burgess said he doesn't have regrets from his short time in office, but he wishes he could have done more to change the nature of public discourse at City Hall. He said there's a tendency for some views to be shouted down.
"What we see on the far right nationally, we see on the far left in Seattle. And it's not helpful, and it's not the way to govern a city," Burgess said.
But Durkan told her transition team earlier this month she’s optimistic about City Council relations.
“I will work with every council member one-on-one and in groups,” Durkan said. “I think we’re going to have a good, positive working relationship.”
Based on an early meeting with her transition team two weeks ago, Durkan's initial priorities include 700 additional beds at homeless shelters, free Metro bus passes for kids under 18, and rental vouchers.
Durkan also said cities must take the lead in opposing President Donald Trump’s policies.
“We know for a certainty that nothing good is coming out of Washington, D.C., for the next three years,” she said. “Nothing."
Durkan said Seattle received a letter from the Trump Administration threatening to repeal some of its funding because it is a so-called sanctuary city. "We will push back, we will remain a sanctuary city.”
But she said there is a “small glimmer of hope” for federal funding to fight the opioid crisis.
Amy Radil contributed to this reporting.