Barrett, Johnson take oaths of office to begin new chapters in political careers

NOW: Barrett, Johnson take oaths of office to begin new chapters in political careers

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Tom Barrett and Cavalier Johnson were sworn into their new roles on Thursday, Dec. 23.

Barrett was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg and Johnson as Acting Mayor of Milwaukee.

"Together I know we can make Milwaukee strong," Johnson said in a speech after being sworn in.

Johnson said his lived experience in Milwaukee's most depressed neighborhoods would help inform his leadership in the mayor's office.

As his first act as mayor, Johnson declared a public safety crisis in Milwaukee.

"Every department, every office, led by the mayor's office, will prioritize the scourge of reckless driving and rising gun violence that plagues our neighborhoods," Johnson said.

Other city leaders said they look forward to working with Johnson.

"I was very appreciative to have this type of hopefulness, understanding that we're coming out of a challenging year," Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman told reporters after Johnson's ceremony. "But we have a lot of good things to say that we have a bright future for us as long as we work together."

Johnson said he will lay out more on his plan to curb gun violence in the coming weeks.

Earlier in the day, Tom Barrett officially became the nation's Ambassador to Luxembourg.

Judge Lynn Adelman, who served with Barrett in the state Legislature for a brief time, administered the oath.

Adelman said it was a full circle moment for Barrett, as the courtroom he was sworn in as ambassador was the same courtroom where he began his career in public service as a law clerk coming out of college.

"I look forward to this assignment," Ambassador Barrett said in a speech. "I think it'll be exciting, I think it'll be challenging, and it's one that I am truly, truly honored to serve."

Barrett said he will turn his focus now on learning more about international finance and climate change policy, two issues that are likely to be at the forefront of his new role.

"I'm very, very excited, there's a lot of work to be done in those substantive fields but there's also a lot of work in representing America and I feel comfortable, having been mayor, going among the people, so that part I feel very comfortable about," Barrett told reporters.

The new ambassador said he spoke with Acting Mayor Johnson the night before and reaffirmed his confidence in his successor.

"[Johnson] clearly knows the building, he knows city government and there's a lot of great things going on but I think all of us know there's a lot of challenges too." Barrett said. "So, I wish him the best, that's for sure."

Barrett said he will travel to Washington D.C. in January with his first visit to Luxembourg expected later that month.

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