Pittsburgh City Council is back to full strength.
Community advocate Barb Warwick took the oath of office Monday morning in City Council chambers, flanked by her husband and four children.
Warwick soundly defeated three other candidates in November’s special election to fill the vacancy created when former District 5 councilmember Corey O’Connor accepted an appointment to Allegheny County controller.
A resident of the Four Mile Run section of Greenfield since 2014, Warwick’s activism started after becoming disenchanted with the political process during the Peduto administration’s push to operate a private shuttle through Schenley Park and The Run. The Mon-Oakland Connector, as it was known, was canceled by the Gainey administration in February after being placed under review last November.
“It was about more than just a shuttle running through a public park,” said Warwick. “It was about people and communities coming together, building coalitions, and demanding a say in how government resources – our money – is spent. Because we know what’s best for our communities.”
Warwick opened her remarks by thanking her predecessor, O’Connor, who was among the approximately 100 people in attendance at the inauguration ceremony. Other politicians in attendance included County Councilperson Bethany Hallam, City Controller Michael Lamb, state Senator Jay Costa, and Deputy Mayor Jake Pawlak.
Warwick called District 5, which represents Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hazelwood, New Homestead, Lincoln Place, Regent Square, Squirrel Hill South, and Swisshelm Park, “a microcosm of the city as a whole.”
“We’ve got some of the wealthiest and most powerful people all the way to some of the poorest and most vulnerable, and we’ve got everything in between.”
Among the priorities cited by Warwick in her acceptance speech: a grocery store in Hazelwood, a playground for Pittsburgh Greenfield school, a rec center for kids and seniors in the 31st Ward, better public transportation and infrastructure for those who don’t travel by car, and more affordable housing.
Council President, Theresa Kail-Smith, noted that Warwick’s victory means that City Council has four female members for the first time since councilmember Natalia Rudiak left office in 2017.
Reverend Mike Holohan of Oakland Presbyterian Church led an invocation, followed by a prayer from Rabbi Yitzi Goldwasser of Chabad of Greenfield. Pastor Lutual Love, Sr., of Praise Temple Deliverance Church in Hazelwood, delivered the closing benediction.
Friends, supporters, and other well-wishers hosted a surprise party for Warwick at Zano’s Pub in The Run Monday evening.
She won’t have long to celebrate – Warwick is due back in Council chambers with her colleagues Tuesday morning for a line-item vote on the city operating budget.
Editor’s Note: Dec. 20, 5:33pm. After publication, this story was updated to correct how long Warwick had lived in Four Mile Run. She did not live there for 14 years; rather, she lived there since 2014. The Independent regrets the error.