Bill Handel

Bill Handel

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Richardson Sworn in as Long Beach's First Black Mayor

Long Beach California Public Welcome Sign at night

Photo: Getty Images

LONG BEACH (CNS) - Rex Richardson was sworn in today as Long Beach's first Black mayor, pledging ``to address our housing crisis, our economic and racial inequities and our changing climate.''

``We only achieve these goals if we continue to work together toward our shared vision for our region's future,'' Richardson said in his inaugural address at the Terrace Theater. The 39-year-old Richardson defeated fellow City Council member Suzie Price in the race to succeed Robert Garcia, who was elected to the House of Representatives after serving two terms as mayor.

``This historic mayorship represents not only how far we've come toward building a more inclusive city, but also the potential that we have to remedy deep and systemic disparities in opportunities across our city,'' Richardson said.

New Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass attended the ceremony. Richardson addressed her during his speech, pledging to work together with her on the homelessness crisis. Richardson said he would call on the city manager Wednesday to bring a declaration of a state of emergency on homelessness to the City Council.

Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness in Los Angeles last week, in her first official act as mayor.

``I accept your call to lock arms with you and confront our cities' shared challenges,'' Richardson said to Bass. ``Imagine a moment when two mayors from the two largest cities in the region are aligned on values and working together to get our unhoused neighbors off the street, and chart an equitable recovery for the future of our region. We will turn this vision into reality, with Mayor Karen Bass as our neighbor.''

 A former student body president at Cal State Dominguez Hills and union organizer, Richardson became the youngest person to serve on the Long Beach City Council when he was elected in 2014. Richardson lives in North Long Beach with his wife and two daughters.

Richardson was one of nine city officials sworn in at the ceremony, along with Doug Haubert, the city prosecutor who was sworn in by Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, five council members, the city attorney and city auditor.

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