BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Brandon Scott, a 36-year-old Democrat, was sworn-in as Baltimore’s new mayor Tuesday afternoon in a private ceremony inside City Hall.

Scott, who’s the city’s 52nd mayor, is starting his new job at a historically tough time. The city has recorded more than 300 homicides for the sixth year in a row, and its population, businesses and tax revenues have not been spared by the coronavirus pandemic.

READ MORE: Man Critically Injured After Crash With Box Truck In East Baltimore

“I am not naïve to the challenges we face,” Scott said in his first speech as mayor. “You have trusted me to be your mayor in this critical moment. Through fresh thinking, transparency professionalism, integrity, and hard work, we can meet these challenges.”

“I know you agree that the status quo cannot continue and under my leadership, it will not. Under my leadership, we will chart a new way forward for Baltimore,” he continued.

Scott said he will be dedicated to making city streets safer.

“The trauma and violence in our city is personal for you, just like it is for me,” he continued. “Reducing murders in our city will not be easy, but it’s a challenge we must attack because we have to. Our crime-fighting strategies, clearly, have not yielded the results we need as we continue to lose too many people to violence. And those who are committing these acts remain comfortable on our streets. This is unacceptable and will change.”

As for the COVID pandemic, Scott said he will not waiver or hesitate to make decisions that save lives.

“I want to ensure that every Baltimorean wears a mask. I want to ensure that every Baltimorean can get tested and have access to the vaccine, our decisions will not always be easy, and often will feel harsh, but they will always be guarded by the advice of public health officials,” he said.

And although Scott promised to resume recycling collection that was upended by the COVID pandemic, he also said he wants to move Baltimore toward a zero-waste future.

READ MORE: Colin Powell, Military Leader And First Black US Secretary Of State, Dies After Complications From COVID-19

Baltimore’s young people are its greatest untapped resource, Scott added.

“They are the key to realizing Baltimore’s true potential of lowering crime, better schools, and stronger neighborhoods,” he said.

“I am not a savior for our city. No one is coming to save us. We have the ability to save ourselves, but we can only do that together,” Scott said. “We all have a role to play in building a safer, functioning, equitable city and the only way forward is together.”

He closed with: “Let me be clear. As your mayor, I am not afraid to do the right thing, over the popular one — even if it hurts me politically — because this term is about doing what’s required to chart a new path, save lives and prepare for a prosperous and equitable future.”

Gov. Larry Hogan congratulated Scott and said he looks forward to working with him.

On Tuesday morning, he took a moment to reflect on his nine years on City Council.

“As my last moments serving on the Baltimore City Council comes to a close, I take a moment to reflect. These last 9 years have been the most fulfilling of my life,” Scott tweeted. “But a new way forward requires a new foundation. Our city remains unsafe and dirty despite the way we invest our public dollars in our budget.”

“With the help of my council colleagues, our city agencies, and input from our residents, we have accomplished a great deal,” he continued. “Not all moments were easy, but with hard work and the support of our residents, we weathered every storm.”

RELATED COVERAGE:

MORE NEWS: Vaccine Policy For Baltimore City Employees Begins Monday

“I know that I would not be taking this next step as the 52nd Mayor of Baltimore without the support of my fellow Baltimoreans. Together, I know that we will make Baltimore the best city we can be,” Scott tweeted.

Rachael Cardin