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Kate Gallego sworn in as mayor of Phoenix

KNXV Kate Gallego Sworn in Phoenix Mayor.jpeg
Posted at 5:33 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 20:33:21-04

PHOENIX — Inaugurations are supposed to be all about aspiration and hope. For Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, the worst part of the job came first.

Moments before taking the stage for her swearing in ceremony, Mayor Gallego was informed Phoenix Police Officer Paul Rutherford, who had served for 23 years, was killed. Rutherford died after being hit by a car while he and a partner were investigating a previous crash.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the officer, his family and all of our first responders," Gallego told her guests.

The new mayor inherits a city on the move, a thriving economy with the promise of more jobs. With the jobs comes people. Ten thousand residents live in downtown Phoenix now--more than at any other time in its history. Those numbers continue to go up. As they do, the demand for affordable housing increases.

"We have to be proactive to stay ahead of the curve on affordable housing," the Mayor said. "It's troubling our community has one of the highest eviction rates."

Homelessness, expensive infrastructure improvements and public safety are among the challenges Mayor Gallego now assumes. But her predecessor, Interim Mayor Thelda Williams said, "you have elected a new mayor who is quite capable and can take on the challenges and I look forward to working with her."

What Williams didn't need to say was there is little time to celebrate. Mayor Gallego already knows that.