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New Public Advocate Letitia James Critical of Bloomberg Years in Inauguration Speech

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The city's new public advocate made history Wednesday, becoming the first woman of color to serve in a citywide office, and staying in character, Letitia James made sure her debut as public advocate was memorable. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Letitia James became the first in line to succeed the mayor on Wednesday, riding a tide of progressive politics and sweeping an election with tales of inequality.

"Like so many New Yorkers, mine is an unlikely story," James said.

It's a story where a councilwoman from Brownstone Brooklyn becomes the first woman of color to serve in citywide office.

In her speech during Wednesday's inauguration ceremony, James had perhaps the most critical take on the last 12 years.

"The policies that make them voiceless must give way to a government that works for them, that speaks for them, that cares more about a child going hungry than a new stadium or a new tax credit for a luxury development," she said.

To drive the point home, the new public advocate brought along Dasani, whose life and struggle with homelessness was chronicled in a series in the New York Times.

Dasani held the bible as James took the oath of office.

Hand in hand, the 12-year-old girl became a centerpiece of James' speech.

"If our government isn't securing the reforms New Yorkers were promised, you better believe that Dasani and I will stand up," James said.

The new public advocate later took it a step further.

"Dasani and her family is going to advise me on homeless shelters moving forward," she said.

The public advocate also brought Dasani to a post inauguration reception at 7 World Trade Center.

The move was seen as typical by some attendees, characteristic for James' fiery brand of politics.

"She is going to hold the city honest to make sure that future stories like Dasani and future families don't have to go through those hardships," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Dasani herself didn't appear to mind.

"I think our public advocate is wonderful, and it was fun to be here with everybody that's here today," she said.

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