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Mayor Greenberg promises ‘safer, stronger and healthier’ Louisville in inauguration speech

Craig Greenberg stands behind a podium at his inauguration
Roberto Roldan
LPM News
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg prepares to be take the oath of office administered by state Supreme Court Justice Angela Bisig (left).

Democrat and businessman Craig Greenberg officially became the 51st mayor of Louisville Monday morning.

Greenberg was sworn in during a ceremony in Metro Hall alongside his wife and kids. The former CEO of 21c Museum Hotels took the oath of office on a Bible and a copy of the Torah he said he received during his bar mitzvah. Newly elected state Supreme Court Justice Angela Bisig administered the oath and, in Kentucky fashion, it included assurances that Greenberg has never participated in a duel.

In the inauguration speech that followed, Greenberg vowed to work toward building a “safer, stronger and healthier” Louisville. He said his administration’s top priority will be taking a holistic approach toward reducing gun violence, which has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“Improving public safety is about much more than policing,” he said. “It’s also about preventing as many crimes as possible through outreach, investment, communication, building trust and community violence intervention strategies, which we will expand.”

Greenberg also asked residents to hold him accountable to some of the promises he made while on the campaign trail: building more affordable housing and investing in areas like the West End, which he said has suffered from historic disinvestment and systemic racism. He said he plans to advocate in Frankfort for funding to provide universal access to pre-kindergarten programs.

“There is so much we need to do, because the promise of our city is still out of reach for far, far too many people,” Greenberg said.

The inauguration ceremony was held in the second floor rotunda of Metro Hall and was attended by a number of local and state politicians, including Gov. Andy Beshear and state Senators Gerald Neal and Julie Raque Adams. Attendees also saw performances by an ensemble from Faith Works Rising Artists and Teddy Abrams, director of the Louisville Orchestra.

Young singers with Faith Works Rising Artists performed for attendees of Mayor Craig Greenberg's inauguration ceremony.
Roberto Roldan
Young singers with Faith Works Rising Artists performed for attendees of Mayor Craig Greenberg's inauguration ceremony.

Steve Wilson, co-founder of 21c Museum Hotels and chairman of the inauguration committee, served as the emcee. In his remarks, Wilson recounted Greenberg’s past work expanding the boutique hotel chain and leading the revitalization of West Main Street as an investor in the 111 Whiskey Row project.

“Craig is what you might call a bright-eyed optimist,” Wilson said. “He sees things that are, but he also sees the potential and possibility that others might miss.”

As Greenberg takes office, so too does a senior leadership team full of familiar faces.

Last month, he announced that Metro Council President David James will oversee emergency services, including police, EMS and the jail. Barbara Sexton-Smith, a former council member and CEO of Fund for the Arts, will be Greenberg’s deputy mayor.

Monday was also the last day for Chief Erika Shields’ tenure at the head of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, formerly second-in-command at LMPD, will serve as interim chief while a national search is conducted for a permanent replacement.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.