Martin Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants who hail from Connemara in Galway, has announced that he is going to run for Mayor of Boston.
The Boston Globe reports that Walsh, currently a State Representative for Massachusetts, formally announced on Wednesday that he’s going to run for the mayoral seat.
“I want to be mayor because I have a record of accomplishment over 16 years as a legislator representing the people of Boston,” Walsh said.
News spread quickly to his parents’ home area of Connemara, where local papers celebrated the announcement. Political columnist and NUIG lecturer Larry Donnelly said that Walsh winning the seat would be “great for Galway.”
During a Boston Globe interview on Wednesday, Walsh said that he believes his candidacy will resonate with the so-called “new Boston,” one that is hallmarked by an increasingly diverse population.
“I think the people of Boston are going to elect a mayor who they can best relate to, they can trust, and they feel will represent their best interests,” Walsh said in the hour long interview.
Walsh added, “If you have a family that is being devastated by substance abuse, I don’t think it matters whether it is old Boston or new Boston. If you have economic problems and you are about to lose your house, I don’t think it matters whether it is old Boston or new Boston.”
Walsh grew up in a working class family in Dorchester, and joined his father working in the trades before turning to politics.
In 1997, Walsh ran in a special election to fill an empty seat in the House of Representatives. He won, and has been re-elected eight times, a shining point in his credentials for mayor.
During his time as a Representative, Walsh said one of his hardest moments came only a few months into his tenure when he voted against reinstituting the death penalty. His decision coincided with a series of high-profile homicides, some which claimed the lives of children.
During the interview Walsh also reflected on his proudest vote, preserving gay marriage. “People say, ‘That must have been tough for you.’ That wasn’t tough at all,” Walsh said. “I got some difficult [phone] calls on that. But you know something, it was the right thing to do.”
In 2009, Walsh achieved his degree from Boston College after having attended night classes while serving as a Representative. Two years later, he became business manager of the Boston Building Trades, an umbrella group that represents unions of ironworkers, electricians, and others. Walsh said in a statement that come Friday, he will resign from his post as business manager.
Judging by his political performance during his tenure in the Legislature, as well as his ties to unions in the Boston area, Walsh may have already won over important pieces of the voting population in Boston. The race, however, is a crowded one at this point.
Candidates have until May 13 to apply for nomination papers, the first step in getting on the ballot for a September 24 preliminary election. The top two vote-getters will face off on November 5 to succeed present Mayor Thomas M. Menino.