By John Lynds
Heavy rain did not stop East Boston residents from coming out in droves to watch Mayor Martin Walsh officially kicked off his re-election for Mayor of Boston at the Don Orione Madonna Shrine last Friday night.
Flanked by elected officials from city and state government, Walsh addressed the crowd of over 200 and thanked his supporters in Eastie.
“Four years ago I was running for Mayor of Boston, there was twelve of us in the race and many people in this room were all over the map supporting other candidates,” began Walsh. “it was the first time in 20 years that the seat opened up and I was fortunate enough to win the primary and was fortunate enough to win the final. And after that I told everyone regardless of whom you supported in the primary or whom you supported in the final we are ‘One Boston’. I’m not into carrying grudges and holding things against people for the rest of their life, that’s not who I am because we are better than that as a city.”
Walsh said when he decided to run for Mayor last time he started his campaign in Eastie.
“When i was starting my campaign I was over a tattoo pallor,” he said. “I had Joe Ruggiero Sr, Joe Ruggiero Jr., Stephen Passacantilli and three kids from Savin Hill and that was the beginning of my campaign. But we worked hard and worked together and I don’t care where people were back then because East Boston is a special place to me. I spent a lot of time in East Boston and heard from people that City Hall sometimes forgets about the neighborhood. I’ve said this neighborhood reminds me of where I grew up in Dorchester. St. Margaret’s Parish was all three deckers, all hard working people from everywhere and of all different backgrounds. I love the people of East Boston and for the past three years I’ve simply tried to represent you as hard as I possibly can.”
Walsh continued that Boston is a safer city, a better city with better schools and parks, but he cautioned that the city’s successes are due not only to his work as Mayor but the support of residents from neighborhoods like Eastie.
“Bottom line is work every single day to make sure Boston is the best city in the country,” said Walsh. “I am honored to be here tonight with this crowd.
I thank you so much for the opportunity you have given me. November is going to be the election and I’m not taking it for granted. From now until November I will work hard to earn every single vote in this room I didn’t get last time as well as every single vote I did get last time.”
Walsh was introduced by local elected officials like Rep. Adrian Madaro, Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, City Councilor Sal LaMattina, Sen. Joseph Boncore and City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George who are all endorsing Walsh’s reelection bid.
“I wanted to stop by to share some of the reasons why my family and I are supporting Mayor Walsh during his reelection campaign,” said Madaro. “When Marty was first running for this seat he came to East Boston and made a commitment to this community and promised he would not forget about us here in East Boston. He has absolutely kept his word to this community and all you have to do is take a drive through East Boston to see his investments, From end to end Mayor Walsh has fulfilled his promise to the residents by making positive things happening in the community.”
Michlewitz said Walsh is not only someone he has known for a long time but someone he admires.
“It’s a pleasure and honor to be here to support Mayor Walsh,” said Michlewitz. “We served together in the House of Representatives before he became Mayor and what always comes to mind was his passion to his neighborhood. He has taken that passion he had in state government and brought it to every community in Boston.”
Boncore added that he has not only been impressed with Walsh’s passion but compassion.
“I was honored when he called me and invited me to his press conference and stand with him after President Donald Trumps’s immigration order,” said Boncore. There he spoke of the nameless and faceless in our communities who were scared and worried and he let them known that he had their back and they would be okay. He is a man of true compassion.”
Essaibi George, a former East Boston High School teacher and coach before being elected to the Council, told of how in 2002, EBHS was having trouble raising funds for a trip to the South.
“The basketball team was going to play in a tournament and needed to travel to the South,” explained Essaibi George. “The principal at the time, Mike Rubin, didn’t think we could swing it but I called my old friend Marty and he made it happen for those kids. Even back then he was taken care of other neighborhoods beyond his own district.”
LaMattina, who served as the event’s Master of Ceremonies, said Walsh has the potential to be one of Boston’s ‘great’ mayors.
“I’ve worked with three mayors over the past 30 years and I’ve watched Mayor Walsh over these last three years and he really is going to be one of Boston’s great mayors,” said LaMattina. “I see how he works and how he cares about people. I look at the city and at my district and he is a mayor that gets it and it has been a real honor to work alongside him.”