SEATTLE — The first woman mayor since the 1920s has taken the helm in the booming progressive city of Seattle.

Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan was sworn in Tuesday at an Ethiopian community center, 91 years after the city elected Bertha Knight Landes as mayor.

“We must remember that our common bonds, our common purposes are so much more powerful than our challenges and differences,” Durkan said. “I will be a mayor — not of city hall — but of the people.”

In that vein, Durkan, 59, made appearances in four other neighborhoods throughout the city.

Durkan beat urban planner Carey Moon for the post in the Nov. 7 general election. Durkan, who says she was the first openly gay person to become a U.S. attorney, will be the first openly lesbian mayor of the city.

Former Mayor Ed Murray resigned in September amid accusations by five men of sexual abuse. Murray has denied the allegations.

City Council President Bruce Harrell and Councilmember Tim Burgess both acted as mayor after the resignation, making Durkan Seattle’s fourth mayor in as many months.

She will lead the city as it deals with the benefits and drawbacks of an economy that is thriving for some but not others as e-commerce giant Amazon expands.

The race for mayor centered on how the city will respond to changes largely brought by Amazon, which employs about 40,000 people in Seattle. Housing prices have skyrocketed amid constant complaints about traffic and worries that the poor and middle class are being priced out.

Durkan was backed by the city’s business and labor establishment and touted her managerial experience as a prosecutor.

She said it was her goal to make sure everyone in Seattle has a home, saying one of her first executive orders would be related to rent vouchers.

It was Durkan’s first run for office, but the well-connected player in city and state Democratic circles trounced her opponent in fundraising, bringing in nearly $1 million. An independent-expenditure committee working on Durkan’s behalf raised some $847,000.

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LISA BAUMANN
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