Minutes after being sworn into office, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris vowed Monday not only to vigorously fight violence but to crack down on the prison recidivism rate, truancy, white-collar crime, mortgage fraud, online predators and environmental degradation.
"Today, with this oath, we affirm the principle that every Californian matters," said Harris, previously San Francisco's district attorney.
Harris trumpeted her support for same-sex marriage as one of many civil rights, saying people should be free to worship as they desire, to live and work where they choose - and to marry the person they love.
"It is often said that a good prosecutor wins convictions," Harris told hundreds of people assembled for her swearing-in at the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento. "But a great prosecutor has convictions."
"In the coming four years, and in the continuing work of the attorney general's office, we are going to do whatever it takes in the cause of protecting and defending the lives and livelihoods of all Californians, by moving beyond the status quo."
Harris said the state needs to "get smart on crime - tougher and smarter - about making California the undisputed national leader in innovation in crime fighting."
The 46-year-old San Franciscan, the first woman and first nonwhite person to serve as California's top cop, was administered the oath of office by new Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of the California Supreme Court.
Harris' Jamaican-born father is an emeritus economics professor at Stanford University and her late mother was a breast cancer specialist from India.
She defeated Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley by less than 1 percentage point in a race too close to call for three weeks after the election. The margin of victory was fewer than 100,000 votes out of more than 9.6 million cast.
Harris ended her ceremony with a simple declaration Monday: "Now let's get to work," she said.
PHOTO: Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee