Newton Inauguration Makes State History

This article is more than 11 years old.

With a noon inauguration ceremony, the city of Newton received a new mayor Friday. And he's already made history.

Setti Warren is Massachusetts' first African American mayor to be elected by popular vote.

A veteran of the Iraq War, Warren worked in President Clinton's White House and as an aide to Sen. John Kerry.

He said the elections of Gov. Deval Patrick and President Barack Obama laid the groundwork for his own election by helping to open up the municipal political scene to black politicians.

"I am really proud of my home city, who really saw past the issue of race in this election and wanted to concentrate on what kind of leadership the city needed," said Warren. "It really makes a statement as to where we are as a state, as a country and where my home city is."

Warren defeated State Rep. Ruth Balser to take over the job from three-term mayor David Cohen, who chose not to seek re-election amid sinking approval ratings.

Warren plans to start off his term by working on the city's beleaguered finances and encouraging an increase in citywide community service initiatives.

He's now far from Iraq, but he said his military service informs his approach to government.

"When I think about my service, I think about how it applies here in Newton," he said. "The dedication I'm going to have to have, the discipline I'm going to have to have."

This program aired on January 1, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.