Walsh celebrates reelection. Photo: Rida Ashraf.
An exuberant crowd of Mayor Marty Walsh supporters at Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel chanted “We are Boston, we are one” Tuesday night, following the announcement of the incumbent’s sweeping victory in the Boston elections. This will be Walsh’s second four-year-term as the Boston mayor.
“Four years ago, my dream came true. You chose this son of immigrants to serve the city that we love. I said then that we are in this together, every neighborhood, every race and religion, every woman, every man, every child, and I meant it,” said Walsh.
“And we proved it, we created over 70,000 jobs together. We built 22,000 new homes together. We raised the graduation rate, and improved school together,” added Walsh.
No incumbent mayor has ever lost reelection since James Michael Curley in 1949. Hence, it was no surprise that Mayor Walsh supporters that he won last night.
Robert Turner, from Walsh’s Office of Returning Citizens said, “Marty has opened up the first Office of Returning Citizens, and has made sure that we work with people who are returning home from incarceration. Because historically, they never had any place to go to for re-entry. But now, we try to help provide them with housing, employment, health and education. Marty will continue to do great things for this wonderful city.”
“I hope we have continued development. The mayor has been outstanding on issues like education and diversity in this city. As far as Tito is concerned, I don’t see him as a negative, I supported him as city counselor, but Marty is the best candidate for this position,” said Tim Fandel, a Boston Resident.
Lee Pelton, President of Emerson College, lauded Walsh’s dedication to the city and insisted that he right the right person for the job. “There are quite a few issues in Boston right now. Like, closing the achievement gap in the Boston Public School system and also some communities in the city feel neglected and haven’t been able to benefit from the economic boom that is occurring here. I know Marty will now tackle those issues.”
Walsh earned 66 percent of the vote to defeat challenger and city councilor Tito Jackson, who would have been Boston’s first ever black mayor if he won.
Jackson was gracious in defeat, and reiterated his commitment to the issues that earned him a dedicated following, like funding Boston Public Schools, fighting gentrification and displacement, and tackling racial inequality.
“This was never about me. This was never about Mayor Walsh. It’s always been about the people of the city of Boston, their future, and what they need,” said Jackson during his speech. “We need to fully fund the Boston Public Schools and we need to make sure that we don’t call our young people an expense. They are an asset to the city of Boston,” he said.
Jackson supporters echoed similar concerns. Marie Allen, decked out in Tito gear, of the South End said Jackson represented change, especially for the housing market.
Michael Larocca, a Boston resident since 1985, thought Jackson was more promising for issues like education and housing for people with disabilities. He also appreciated Jackson’s efforts to talk to as many people as possible—“he’s a people person,” he said.
Sohrab Khan, a 20-year-resident of Boston, cited income inequality as a key issue, noting that rent was brutal for people making less than $40,000 per year. He also commended Jackson’s work ethic: “He’s a really hard worker. He’s tireless.”
The manager of the Tito Jackson Community Fund, Monica Cannon-Grant, also cited the importance of his candidacy. “It means that a black man, who came from Roxbury… who came from poverty, who was adopted, who has a story similar to so many people, can run for mayor of city of Boston,” she said.
“I hope… that we really have pushed conversations in a meaningful direction,” said Cassie Hurd, a longtime activist who joined Jackson’s campaign as a volunteer. She’s confident Jackson will continue to be a presence and a voice for various issues in the city. “He has always been someone who has showed up and I don’t think he’ll be someone who’ll stop.”
Jackson told Spare Change News he has no regrets. “Would I have done it again? Hell yeah,” he said.
There was a low (though still higher than anticipated) voter turnout in Boston, as more than 22% of Boston voters cast ballots.