City Government
4:01 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Bruce Kraus Elected President of Pittsburgh City Council

Council President Bruce Kraus addresses the crowd in Council chambers.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Bruce Kraus said he couldn’t get the old song “It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring)” out of his head this morning, as he prepared for the vote that would confirm him as president of the 138th Pittsburgh City Council on Monday.

“It may be the coldest day that the city has seen in the last 10 to 20 years, but in our hearts it is spring, because we are experiencing a true and genuine rebirth,” Kraus said.

The six-year City Council veteran was nominated by Councilman Corey O’Connor and ran uncontested. He received “yay” votes from all members of Council except for two: Councilman Ricky Burgess and immediate past President Councilwoman Darlene Harris.

“I am awestruck by the quality of the membership of this body, and I am proud to call you colleagues, and comrades, and friends,” Kraus said. “I thank you for your vote of confidence in me to lead this body, especially at the exciting time that is Pittsburgh today.”

Kraus, who has often allied with now Mayor Bill Peduto, vowed to be an independent voice in city government.

“And at the same time, keep the doors open between both sides of the hall to have a true cooperative relationship,” Kraus said. “And that … excites me more than anything today.”

Kraus is the city’s first openly gay Council President, but he said he hadn’t really thought much about it.

“I will say this, it speaks volumes for the city of Pittsburgh and just how inclusive and diverse we are as a city,” he said. “As many of you already know, we were one of the first cities to put orientation as a protected class on our books almost 20 years ago. So I think all we’re seeing today is the fruit of that labor.”