Ed Gainey made history when he was sworn in as Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor Monday.
Gainey’s inauguration and swearing-in were held virtually because of COVID-19 with limited in-person attendance in the council chambers. He took the oath of office just before 2 p.m., the judge getting emotional while speaking about the moment’s historical impact.
He started his inauguration speech by thanking his family and those who voted for him, saying he’d never take any support for granted.
He laid out his vision for Pittsburgh, including police community relations, economic inclusion, affordability, transportation access and education.
“Success does and will continue to live and thrive here in our city of Pittsburgh, but not at the expense of those who have been left behind for far too long. Let me be clear, let me be clear: we will be bold, we will aim high and we will work tirelessly until we get there. My administration will be progressive, principled and always on the side of the people,” Gainey said.
“This will take courage, and I know that this word courage means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But to me, courage means doing the right thing by the people, for the people and most importantly, with the people. No one can do it alone but we can always do it together,” he said.
Gainey said he would represent all of Pittsburgh, including those who had and hadn’t voted for him.
“When I decided to run for mayor, I didn’t decide to run for mayor to make history. I decided to run for mayor to make change. But I would be remiss if I didn’t reflect on the historical significance of today. Being the first Black mayor to hold this seat is not a responsibility I take lightly. I understand that. But I stand on the shoulders of greats,” he said, naming his supporters.
Gainey wrapped up his inauguration speech by saying, “Pittsburgh, let’s go get it.” He was met by cheers, chants and a standing ovation.
The inauguration ceremony began with several video performances including a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and messages from Gov. Tom Wolf and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
“As mayor, he is going to use the full force of his determination and his strength and his dedication to put the people of Pittsburgh first,” said Wolf.
Wolf and Fitzgerald talked about how Pittsburgh transformed itself from a city of steel mills into a global hub for technology and how they believe Gainey will continue to that trajectory.
“Pittsburgh is a special place. It’s a place we all love, and nobody demonstrates that love better than Ed Gainey,” Fitzgerald said, highlighting Gainey’s prioritization of equity and his plan to make Pittsburgh “a city for all.”
“This is going to be a city where people who were left behind are going to have that hope that those opportunities are for them,” said Fitzgerald.
Gainey is Pittsburgh’s 61st mayor. In an upset, he defeated incumbent Mayor Bill Peduto in May’s primary and went on to beat Democrat-turned-Republican Tony Moreno.
Gainey grew up in East Liberty and attended Peabody High School before attending Morgan State University where he got his degree in business management. He served in various government agencies before winning a seat in the state House of Representatives in 2012.