Marqueece Harris-Dawson takes office as councilman of L.A.'s 8th District

Community organizer Marqueece Harris-Dawson was officially sworn in as the Los Angeles City Council representative for District 8 on Wednesday during a ceremony on the top floor of City Hall.

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For the record

1:30 p.m.: A previous version of this story said Harris-Dawson was sworn in Tuesday; he was sworn in Wednesday.

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With his wife and parents by his side, Harris-Dawson, 45, took the oath of office administered by City Clerk Holly L. Wolcott after welcome speeches from other elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Giving a hint of some of the issues he wants to tackle, Harris-Dawson described the troublesome conditions he witnessed in his district, which includes the Baldwin Hills, West Adams and Crenshaw communities of South L.A., during his first drive to work at City Hall.

"What used to be sidewalks are campgrounds," he said. "There's only one part of the city where the black population is growing and it's on skid row. We're unsatisfied. So what do you do when you're unsatisfied? You call your friends and get busy so you can change your dissatisfaction to satisfaction."

A four-piece mariachi band, a nod to the burgeoning Latino population that is now in the majority in South L.A., serenaded the crowd of about 200 residents and elected officials that convened in the Tom Bradley Room. Harris-Dawson won 62% of the vote against three candidates in March's primary election. During the campaign he promised to make City Hall more responsive to the needs of the community, clean up neighborhoods and bring quality jobs to South L.A.

Harris-Dawson replaces Bernard C. Parks, whose political power waned during his final years on the dais. Term limits forced Parks out of office.

"Some of us have been waiting 12 long years," Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. "This is a moment that we can celebrate because potential is on the rise .... The reborn 8th [District] will see things that it has not seen before."

Shortly after the ceremony, Harris-Dawson cast his first vote as a city councilman to elect Herb Wesson as council president.

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