Rhode Island has its first Latina mayor.
Maria Rivera was sworn in Monday as mayor of Central Falls by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea during a livestreamed ceremony at the city's high school because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Central Falls, which is about 1.3 square miles with a population of roughly 20,000, has been hard hit by the pandemic and Rivera said improving access to testing and vaccine distribution are among her priorities. More than 3,200 residents of the city have tested positive for the virus, and its 28% positivity rate is by far the highest in the state.
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"I have hope because the incredible people in Central Falls have helped me recognize what's important to fight for,'' Rivera said.
Rivera, a former city councilor, also asked for a moment of silence to remember those who did not live to see the inauguration. Rivera's parents moved to the city from Puerto Rico.
She takes over for outgoing Mayor James Diossa.