The nation in brief

Posted: December 7, 2017 at 3:32 a.m.

Kirstjen Nielsen is sworn in at a hearing Wednesday on her nomination to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

New Homeland Security chief sworn in

WASHINGTON — Kirstjen Nielsen has been sworn in as the next Homeland Security secretary. The ceremony took place at the White House on Wednesday. Reporters were not invited to document the occasion. In a statement, Nielsen said that it’s her “greatest honor to serve” in the role. Nielsen formerly served as deputy White House chief of staff and as former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s No. 2 at the department. Kelly stepped down from the post to become President Donald Trump’s chief of staff.

LA approves rules for recreational pot

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles is in line to become the nation’s largest city with legal recreational marijuana after the City Council voted Wednesday to license sales and cultivation next year. The vote came after a hearing in which council members characterized the rules as a work in progress almost certain to see revisions next year, after California begins its recreational-pot industry on Jan. 1. City Council President Herb Wesson’s office said the city rules would take effect immediately after the signature of Mayor Eric Garcetti, which is expected. Under the regulations, residential neighborhoods would be largely off-limits to pot businesses, and buffer zones would be set up around schools, libraries and parks. Businesses that want to participate in the marketplace need city permits before they can apply for state licenses.

Race tight, 1 mayor hopeful declares win

ATLANTA — With the race for mayor too close to call, one candidate declared herself Atlanta’s new leader and the other vowed to request a recount, which election officials said could happen next week if candidate Mary Norwood formally requests one. Norwood, 65, trails front-runner Keisha Lance Bottoms by just 759 votes out of 92,169 votes cast in Tuesday’s election, which dragged into Wednesday morning. Norwood said the close margin combined with absentee ballots from military members have yet to figure in the totals and that she believes some ballots have yet to be tabulated. Though Bottoms, 47, declared herself the city’s new mayor in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday, Norwood told her supporters that the race isn’t over and that she will seek a recount. Fulton County election official Richard Barron says he expects the election to be certified Saturday or Monday, and Norwood would then have 48 hours to request a recount. Both women are City Council members. Norwood calls herself an independent and Bottoms is the chosen successor of incumbent Kasim Reed.

Kentucky clerk to face gay candidate

MOREHEAD, Ky. — David Ermold, who two years ago was denied a marriage license by Rowan County, Ky., Clerk Kim Davis because he is gay, filed to run for county clerk on Wednesday. After Davis told him “God’s authority” prohibited her from complying with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide, Ermold and others sued. Davis spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal judge’s order Last month, Davis announced she would run for re-election and face voters for the first time since refusing to issue marriage licenses. Three other people also have filed to run against her. “I think we need to deal with the circumstances and the consequences of what happened,” Ermold said. “I don’t think the other candidates are looking at a larger message. I have an obligation here, really, to do this and to set things right.” Wednesday, Ermold and his husband sat across a desk from Davis as they filed his paperwork to run for office. Davis, softly humming the old hymn “Jesus Paid It All” as her fingers clacked across a keyboard, smiled and welcomed them, as she made sure that Ermold’s filing was correct. When it was over, she stood and shook hands with Ermold, telling him: “May the best candidate win.”

David Ermold files to run for Rowan County clerk in Kentucky in front of clerk Kim Davis on Wednesday in Morehead.