NEW YORK (AP) — Twelve years ago, Bill de Blasio attended New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s inauguration as a newly-minted city councilman, unknown to most outside his Brooklyn district and a small circle of political operatives.
He is now Bloomberg’s successor, elected by a record margin, supported by a former — and perhaps a future — U.S. president, and hailed as the face of a progressive movement that pledges a significant realignment of the nation’s largest city.
De Blasio’s improbable climb, which included a stint in an obscure public watchdog post and a stunning political comeback last summer, will reach its pinnacle at noon on a cold New Year’s Day when he is sworn in by former President Bill Clinton.
When de Blasio’s completes the oath, the second he’ll have taken in 12 hours, he will become the first Democratic mayor of New York since 1993 and be poised to enact sweeping changes to a city that became safer and cleaner than ever yet more economically divided during Bloomberg’s 12 years in office.
The inauguration was expected to be a joyous day for city Democrats, who outnumber Republicans in the city by a margin of 6-to-1 but have been shut out of power since David Dinkins left office two decades ago.
The party’s ascension was underscored by the presence of Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who would be a White House favorite if she runs in 2016.
Both Clintons have ties to de Blasio: The new mayor worked for the former president’s administration in the Department of Housing and Urban Development — under now-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and he helped manage Hillary Clinton‘s successful 2000 U.S. Senate campaign. De Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, are also frequently compared to the Clintons since McCray has long been considered the new mayor’s most powerful, if informal, adviser.
McCray stood alongside her husband when he emerged from their modest Park Slope home at 12:01 a.m. Joined by their two children, they stood on a makeshift podium as de Blasio took the oath of office from state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Several dozen neighbors and supporters — as well as actor Steve Buscemi, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Patrick Gaspard, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa — stood in the cold to cheer de Blasio, who then signed the oath and gave the required $9 fee to the city clerk.