Signaling a new era for the city of Boston, BC graduate Martin J. Walsh was inaugurated as the city’s new mayor at Conte Forum on Monday, January 6. Drawing upon his mayoral campaign themes, Walsh promised to work for “One Boston,” in remarks that he gave after being officially inaugurated as Boston’s first new mayor in over two decades.
The broad coalition that propelled Walsh to the city’s highest office was addressed by noting, “Today, we are sworn in together. Together, we are committing to do all we can for the city we love. Together, we can move our great city forward.” Walsh promised that his first day on the job would entail convening a meeting to address curbing gun and other forms of violence that occur across the city.
At a ceremony that included over 8,000 campaign volunteers, politicians and reporters, Walsh took the oath to assume the role as Boston’s Mayor. Walsh chose Conte Forum as his inauguration’s venue both for its personal ties- Walsh graduated from the Woods College of Advancing Studies in 2009- and the Forum’s capacity.
The ceremony also included a performance by renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma and a public prayer by Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley. Governor Deval Patrick and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren also addressed the crowd. After Mayor Walsh took the oath of office, he swore in the City Council, whom he will work with over the course of his first term.
Even before starting his new job, Mayor Walsh and his transition team, including former mayoral candidates and onetime rivals John Barros, former City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo, and former State Representative Charlotte Golar Richie, held several high profile forums and town hall style meetings. City residents were able to meet one-on-one with city bureaucrats, policy experts, and other citizens to give their input on any of the matters that the incoming mayor will be facing. Following this, Mayor Walsh promised, “I will listen. I will learn. I will lead.”
Hailing from humble beginnings on Taft Street in Dorchester, Walsh, or “Marty,” took an unlikely route to the mayor’s office. After surviving a childhood bout with cancer, Walsh overcame an addiction to alcohol and assumed a managerial position in his local building trades union, of which his father was also a member. Serving as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives for over sixteen years, Walsh represented portions of his local neighborhood while also earning his bachelor’s degree by attending night courses at BC.
Walsh defeated former City Councilor John R. Connolly with 52% of the vote this past November to follow outgoing Mayor Thomas Menino, who served the city for 21 years. Walsh has pledged to make Boston a 24-hour city, cementing the recently extended late night T hours and fully embracing the arts and culture populations within the city by making Arts and Culture a permanent cabinet level position in his administration.
Among Walsh’s other tasks will be to improve the city’s public school system, manage labor relations, and reform the Boston Redevelopment Authority, all of which he promised to tackle head on along with his newly announced staff.
Walsh closed his remarks at Conte Forum on Monday by reminding everyone that Boston is a “city of dreams,” offering himself as living proof. “I know that my mother isn’t the only one surprised.”Featured image via Facebook.