Working people saw many victories this Election Day, but for Bostonians, Tuesday was especially poignant. Martin J. Walsh, a longtime labor leader and state representative, swept to victory to become the city’s first union mayor.
A 16-year member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Brother Walsh also served as president of Laborers (LIUNA) Local 223 and, until he announced he was running for mayor in April, served as the general agent for the Metropolitan Boston Building Trades Council.
Walsh’s union background received a lot of attention during the campaign, with his opponent and the media relentlessly asserting he would be somehow compromised by his labor ties as the mayor of Boston. Yet Walsh overcame these criticisms, thanks to the unprecedented grassroots efforts of Boston's working families and Walsh’s campaign theme of inclusion and building a Boston for all neighborhoods, not just downtown business interests.
"Boston’s union members from all backgrounds and all economic sectors came together to support a champion of working families in Martin J. Walsh,” said Rich Rogers, executive secretary-treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council. “A united labor movement in Boston led to victories in all of Boston’s working-class communities, including critical wins in Boston’s communities of color.”
It came as no surprise to Boston labor leaders that Walsh’s victory speech on Tuesday touched most strongly on working-class values. “For this son of immigrants, you’ve made Boston a place of comebacks and second chances,” Walsh told the packed crowd at the Park Plaza Hotel on Tuesday night. “This is Boston strong and together, we’re going to make Boston even stronger.”
We’re going to do it by expanding opportunities, building community and ensuring equality for all. Opportunity because every woman, man, child deserves a chance. Community because that’s the strength of this city. Equality, because everybody gets ahead, not just some. I reach out tonight to everyone in this city tonight who shares these values. Stand with me because I’m ready to stand and work with you.