Boston voters, marking a significant milestone in the city’s long political history, elected a woman and an Asian American as mayor on Tuesday for the first time, City Councilor Michelle, to serve in the city’s top political office. Tapped Wu.
Wu’s victory marks a turning point for the city. Before that Boston had elected only white people as mayors.
“One of my sons asked me that night if the boys could be elected mayor of Boston,” Wu told supporters. “They have been, and they will be again someday, but not tonight.”
Wu’s choice over fellow Boston City Councilor Anissa Asyby George is just the latest marker of how old Boston isn’t—known for its ethnic neighborhoods, happy-handed politicians, and mayors with Irish surnames—is giving way to a new Boston. for.
Wu won’t have much time to enjoy his victory. She will take oath on November 16.
Wu said, “We set out to meet this moment. We set out to be the Boston for everyone. We set out to be the Boston that doesn’t push people out, but everyone who calls our city home.” welcomes people.”
Just before Wu could speak, Essabi George accepted the race.
Essabi George told his supporters, “I want to congratulate Michelle Wu very much. She is the first woman, the first person of color and, as an Asian American, to be elected the first mayor of Boston.” “I know this is no small feat.”
Wu produced a series of high-profile advertisements, which included the endorsement of Acting Mayor Kim Janney, US Sens Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, and US Representative Ayanna Pressley, a former Boston city councilor and “Squad” member. in Congress.
The election is a pivotal moment for Boston, which has wrestled with racial strife throughout its history. Tensions escalated into violence in the 1970s, when a court ordered the segregation of the city’s public schools, leading black students to predominantly white schools and white students to mostly black schools.
Each of the five main mayoral candidates – all Democrats – had identified as a person of color.
Wu, 36, whose parents immigrated to the US from Taiwan, grew up in Chicago and moved to Boston to attend Harvard University and Harvard Law School.
Essabi George, 47, a Boston resident and former public school teacher, describes himself as a first-generation Arab-Polish American. Her father was a Muslim immigrant from Tunisia. His mother, a Catholic, immigrated from Poland.
With his victory in hand, it is now up to Wu to try and make good on some of his wide-ranging offers.
Two of Wu’s most ambitious promises are centered on housing and public transportation, topics familiar to the city’s 675,000 residents.
To help push back against rising housing costs that have forced some former residents out of town, Wu has promised to pursue rent stabilization or rent controls. The biggest obstacle to that proposal is the fact that Massachusetts voters narrowly approved the 1994 ballot question banning rent controls across the state.
One of Woo’s top campaign promises is to create a “fare-free” public transportation system. Wu has said the proposal would bolster the city’s economy, address climate change and help people who take the bus or subway to school or work.
Like the fare control pledge, Wu as mayor cannot unilaterally remove fares on the public transportation system, which is under the control of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Wu said she would try to work with partners in the state government to make each proposal a reality.
“We don’t have to choose between a generational change and keeping street lights on, tackling big problems and filling our potholes,” he said.
Other challenges Wu will have to deal with as mayor include public education, policing, the city’s ongoing struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic and the long-term effects of climate change on the coastal metropolis.
The election was also a test of whether voters in a city long dominated by narrow neighborhood politics were willing to tap someone like Wu who was not born and raised in the city.
Wu was first elected in 2013 at the age of 28, becoming the first Asian American woman to serve on the council. In 2016, she became the first woman of color to serve as president. Essabi George was first elected to the council in 2015.
The poll reflects an increasingly diverse Boston.
The latest US census figures show Boston residents make up 44.6% of the population, compared to black residents (19.1%), Latino residents (18.7%) and residents of Asian descent (11.2%).
The city’s last elected mayor – Democrat Marty Walsh – stepped down earlier this year to become US labor secretary under President Joe Biden. Walsh was replaced on acting grounds by Jenny, who was sworn in as Boston’s first woman and first black mayor on March 24.