ByÂ Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel takes the oath of office this morning as Chicago’s 22nd mayor, vowing to curb spending and make the city more efficient as he tackles a $700 million budget shortfall.
The Democrat who served two presidents and wielded power in the halls of Congress now shifts to the nation’s third largest city, where a generation of Chicagoans have only known Richard M. Daley as their mayor for the last 22 years.
Emanuel, 51, will be sworn in at 10:30 a.m. CT/11:30 a.m. ET.
Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will be on hand for the ceremony, which the new mayor says is a sign of their friendship and a testament to Chicago.
But it’s also a sign of the new mayor’s influence in Washington, where he was chief of staff to President Obama, an adopted son of Chicago; a former top political aide to President Bill Clinton and a congressman who rose to his party’s No. 3 spot in leadership.
In his 72-page “transition plan” for Chicago, Emanuel outlined his plans for addressing the city’s budget woes, improving its schools and making the city more livable by such steps as reducing gun violence.
Emanuel said short-term solutions — such as tapping reserve funds, putting city workers on furlough and restructuring debt — will no longer work.
“We will reduce our costs. We will hold ourselves accountable â€“ and ask you to do the same â€“ for high standards of efficiency and performance, from potholes to public safety. We will form new partnerships to make services more effective and equitable. And we will open up our government to the public with unprecedented access to data and information,” Emanuel has vowed.
Emanuel’s road to the mayor’s job was not without controversy. Rivals for mayor, including former Chicago schools chief Gery Chico, sought to portray Emanuel has an outsider. Emanuel successfully fought a legal battle over whether he met the residency requirements for mayor — a case that went all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.
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