Giselle Hale has been sworn in as Redwood City's next mayor.
In a unanimous vote, City Council voted on Monday to install Hale to the seat for the next two years. Diana Reddy was installed as vice mayor at the same meeting after a unanimous City Council vote.
In her first public statement as Redwood City mayor, Hale announced a new program called the San Mateo County Mental Health Initiative, "a countywide effort to raise awareness of mental health needs and increase access to mental health services," she said.
Hale said that she and her family have struggled with anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Not being able to help my child in her time of need was one of the most difficult challenges I have had to face and it led me to personal struggles with anxiety and depression, Hale said. "When I realized I needed help, help was not easy to find."
The experience, she said, "has given me a deep motivation to help our community heal."
Eleven other incoming mayors have made this their priority, Hale said, as she closed her first meeting. It's not clear which cities are taking part in the mental health initiative.
"Our mission in Redwood City is to be a place where people of all backgrounds and all incomes can thrive," she said. "To every resident, whether you live in an RV in our safe parking lots, in an apartment you rent, or in a home you own, I'm here to be your mayor. And we, as a council, are here to serve you.
"I truly believe our best days are ahead," she said. "We don't know what they look like, but they probably do look different than our past. Let's embrace that ambiguity and forge a new path together ahead. I'm honored to serve as your mayor and I'm excited to get to work for you."
Hale, having been elected in 2018, was the most senior member of the most recent city council followed by Diana Reddy who was also elected in 2018.
Per the city charter, which was updated in 2019 to adopt the rotation policy, mayors are selected based on seniority. The public has an opportunity to speak about the selection of mayor and vice mayor prior to the appointment. Members will then nominate someone for mayor. A vote will also take place and if no member receives the majority of the vote, a second vote will take place or the nomination will restart.
Hale has been rumored to be making a move for Jackie Speier's 14th Congressional District seat. Speier announced she will not be running for reelection.
The swearing-in ceremonies were preceded by a celebration of outgoing mayor, Diane Howard. Friends, family and public officials, including State Sen. Josh Becker and District 4 Supervisor Warren Slocum, congratulated her and showered her with kind words and parting gifts. Howard was visibly emotional, as her family greeted her onscreen one after the other.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Michelle Iracheta is the editor at the Redwood City Pulse. She can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter, on Facebook, and by phone at 832-729-2105. To read more stories about Redwood City, subscribe to our daily Express newsletter on rwcpulse.com.