Harp sworn in as New Haven's 50th mayor - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Harp sworn in as New Haven's 50th mayor

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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB/AP) -

Toni Harp was sworn in as New Haven's 50th mayor, but she's first woman to ever hold the office.

Harp, a Democrat, became the first new chief elected official of the Elm City in 20 years. She replaces the outgoing Mayor John DeStefano, who chose not to run for re-election.

An inauguration ceremony was held Wednesday afternoon at Hill Regional Career High School.

Harp was sworn in with her children by her side and in her first speech, she reminded people that the city's success is all about realizing what accomplishments have already been made.

"I think it's important that we think about who we are," Harp said. "Often, we think about what we are not."

Harp said she wants the police department to continue tackling crime issues using community police. She told Eyewitness News after her swearing in that she wants more to be done to keep repeat offenders off the street.

"We're going to do everything we can to see them arrested at the highest level and removed from our city," Harp said.

Harp got thunderous applause when she announced her ideas to keep young people busy, so they don't get involved with the wrong people.

One thing Harp said she plans to push for is a Latino youth development group. Harp said New Haven's diversity is one of the reasons the city is so strong.

"I think we can show in New Haven how people from all over the world can come together and make that community better," Harp said.

Harp also announced she wants to re-open a long-time community center that shut down years ago

Harp has served in the Connecticut State Senate since 1993, representing the 10th Senatorial District. A special election is required to fill her seat, which she plans to vacate.

Besides the new mayor, the new city clerk and all 30 members of the Board of Aldermen were sworn into office during the almost two-hour ceremony.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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