Boston Council, Mayor Outline Social Justice Agenda

By Seth Daniel

City government in Boston appeared to be on the same page when it came to the Council and Mayor Martin Walsh during inauguration speeches on Monday, with the mayor and new Council President Michelle Wu outlining a strong social justice agenda for the coming term.

Speaking after swearing in the new Boston City Council, Mayor Walsh said the Council and the administration has accomplished a lot by working together.

“The last two years, the Council and the administration accomplished a lot,” he said. “We made our streets safer to the point where we had a 16-year low in homicides last year. We worked on paid parental leave for all City workers…I am a better mayor and you are a better Council when we work together. It’s important to maintain that…It’s a diverse group; we have women and people of color stepping into the leadership roles.”

Walsh outlined the work done on City Budgets that have invested in neighborhoods and jobs, and he also pointed out the two new councilors who will join 11 returning councilors.

“We are a City on the rise and a City that won’t stop to look back,” he concluded.

A little while later, after being voted unanimously as the Council President, Wu outlined her goals – which were very much on the same tangent as Walsh’s.

“In this term, we will take action on reducing income inequality, reforming the criminal justice system, creating new educational opportunities and preparing for climate change,” she said. “We will create new committees on homelessness/recovery issues, jobs/wages/workforce development, environment/sustainability, parks/recreation/transportation, and not just a public safety committee, but public safety and criminal justice.”

She said the Council would also open up their dockets for transparency and accessibility, putting dockets, meeting dates and more on the Boston City Council website.

Of the committee assignments, which have yet to be made, she said she would ask the committee chairs to have meetings in the neighborhoods to create an “action agenda.”

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren concluded the ceremony with a thank you and another call for collaboration.

“Michelle is a woman who gets out and does the hard work to make sure things get done,” she said. “I just wanted to be here to say I’m proud of you Michelle…The federal government is an effective partner in helping cities flourish. Boston can’t be a city of opportunity not just for some children, but rather for all of our children. Call on me for anything…and I’ll call on you because we’re all headed in the same direction.”

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