On Monday at Boston College before a crowd of supporters, political and faith leaders, dignitaries, and resident from all of the city’s neighborhoods, Mayor Martin J. Walsh took the oath of office from Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Roderick Ireland as Boston’s 54th Mayor.
In a ceremony that included performances by cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma, Mayor Walsh was sworn in as Boston’s first mayor and 20 years and pledged to move a united Boston forward.
“We are city of second chances and redemption, a place where hard times have forged character throughout our history,” said Walsh in his inaugural address. “We are a city of proud families, and neighborhoods with big hearts and welcoming arms that make everyone feel like family.
We are a city of high achievement and creative genius. Our educators, scientists, doctors, and artists are changing the world. We are city of big dreams, and we have what it takes to make dreams come true. And if you doubt any of that, look at this kid from Taft Street in Dorchester who’s now your Mayor.”
Walsh told the crowd that numbered in the thousands that Boston, as a whole, was sworn in together with the new mayor.
“Together, we are committing to do all we can for the city we love. Together, we can move our great city forward,” he said. “This past weekend – even in the face of a blizzard – we came together in community service. We painted our children’s schools, served meals to the homeless, shoveled out some of our neighbors. In the cold of winter, we demonstrated that every season is for service.”
Walsh pledged that his administration, together with the residents of Boston, would expand opportunity so it reaches every person in every corner of the city.
“We cannot tolerate a city divided by privilege and poverty,” said Walsh. “We will protect and grow our sense of community. For it is Boston’s greatest source of strength. And we will ensure equality for all: No matter your age, race, religion, and sexual orientation. No matter what.”
In his address, Walsh also outlined major priorities as he begins his term, including, strengthening Boston’s economy and creating jobs; improving public safety and bringing an end to senseless gun violence; ensuring Boston’s schools help every child succeed; and increasing trust and transparency in City government.
“We must take some kind of fresh, innovative approach when it comes to our investments in job creation and economic development,” he said. “Different pieces of the economic development puzzle are spread across city government. Too often, it’s hard to fit them together. There’s duplication and confusion. It’s difficult for the city and for the businesses and workers we’re trying to help. I am committed to restructuring the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and to bringing together in a smart, rational and effective way all the parts of city government dealing with job creation and economic development. We can make Boston a leader in streamlined, transparent, and effective job and business growth. We have to make clear to everyone that Boston is open for business. That means attracting and growing new businesses and strengthening those already here – from big corporations to small start‐ups. It means making certain that all businesses, including minority and women owned companies, have access to opportunity.”
On public safety Walsh said no parent should worry that a bullet will stop a daughter or son from coming home, that no woman should be scared on our streets, that no senior should be afraid in their home and no child should be forced to live with the trauma and the indelible scars of violence.
“We must find a way to provide our families and our communities with the help they need when they need it,” said Walsh. “Imagine if these kids, these parents had people to help them in times of trauma. Health care professionals and community members serving as volunteers, answering the call whenever a life – and with it, a family and a neighborhood – is torn by violent crime.”
Walsh added that he would begin the work of addressing the senseless violence that takes place in Boston’s neighborhoods Monday, when he will convene a diverse group of public safety advocates to move the city forward in redoubling crime prevention efforts and recommitting Boston to the safety of every citizen.
On education Walsh said he would immediately begin a search for a proven urban education leader to serve as the next Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools and move public schools in the city forward with a focus on eliminating the achievement gap, universal early education, high school reform, inclusion and dual language programs, and high quality career and technical training.
“Every kid in Boston deserves a great education that will give them opportunity to get ahead. Every kid in every neighborhood deserves the chance for a pathway to higher education or a good career,” Walsh said.
Walsh also pledged to look long and hard at the school budget.
“Education spending is the biggest piece of our city budget,” he said. “So we start with this principle: Every dollar we spend on education must be put to best and most effective use. That’s why I will work with the school committee and acting superintendent to commission a Performance Audit of our school department – a close look not just at where the money is going, but whether it is being spent most effectively and efficiently.”
Other priorities Walsh outlined included gaining a better understanding of the needs of Boston’s seniors; strengthening city ethics requirements; and revitalizing support to neighborhood businesses.
“I am inspired every day by the people of our city – by your hopes, by your dreams, by your determination. I am listening. I will keep on listening,” concluded Walsh said. “We will move Boston forward together.”
Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh is sworn in as Boston’s 54th Mayor by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Roderick Ireland Monday at Boston College’s Conte Forum.