Marty Walsh is the son of Irish immigrants who came to Boston in the 1950s. He is a native of Dorchester and has overcome immense obstacles, surviving Burkett’s lymphoma at the age of seven, becoming injured in a shooting in 1990 and recovering from alcoholism by 1995. He attended St. Margaret’s School in Dorchester and Newman Prep High School before becoming a union laborer at age 18, working at the Commonwealth Pier, now the World Trade Center, in the South Boston waterfront. Marty Walsh later graduated from Boston College, and remains a resident of Dorchester.
State Representative, 13th Suffolk District
In 1997, Marty Walsh was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He represents the 13th Suffolk District, which includes Dorchester.
During his time as a State Representative, Walsh served as Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and Federal Affairs, which oversees and handles legislation related to the security of the US. He is currently the House Chair of the Ethics Committee, which regulates standards of ethical conduct for members of the House. He has always worked in favor of creating jobs and growing the economy, as well as attempting to better the public school system by increasing budgets. He has fought for civil rights, and considers his vote in favor of same sex marriage his “proudest vote ever as a legislator.”
During his time as a legislator, he also worked alongside his union, Laborers Local 223. In 2011, he led the Building and Construction Trades Council, a role he held until his decision to run for mayor. His deep involvement with the labor union is reflected in the numerous union endorsements he has received since beginning his campaign.
Marty Walsh is a fervent advocate of the public school system. His goal is to strengthen public schools by making them more attractive for parents and more competitive with charter and private schools, particularly by focusing on infrastructure. Indeed it is currently difficult to find seats in kindergarden, and Boston’s total student enrollment is projected to increase by 7,000 students in the next four years; Marty Walsh plans to make kindergarten universally accessible to all of Boston’s four-year-olds, which would ensure that every child begins with the same advantage.
Marty Walsh is also determined to fight for economic development in downtown Boston. In his vision, creating business in the city will create jobs and help working families. As of July 2013, Massachusetts’ unemployment rate was 7.20%, which is higher than the long term average of 5.73%.
A great illustration of his campaign to reinforce small business, particularly to make certain forgotten neighborhoods more dynamic, is his proposal to help small restaurants obtain a liquor license. The State currently limits the number of liquor licenses available to cities and sets the price for a license quite high, around $300,000. Marty Walsh wants to help small businesses have greater access to liquor licenses in order to develop the economy and create jobs in neighborhoods that would need that extra boost to become more attractive.
Finally, on a less serious note, Marty Walsh, along with former Lemonheads’ manager Joyce Linehan, are planning on proposing a bill to make The Modern Lovers’ classic “Roadrunner” the official song of Massachusetts. The Modern Lovers claim in that song that “they are in love with Massachusetts,” and cite countless local landmarks and institutions. What do you think?
Criticism and Weak Points
Some critics have pointed to Marty Walsh’s strong ties to labor as a liability; as Boston Globe writer Andrew Ryan has pointed out, critics “have questioned whether, as mayor, he could fairly negotiate union contracts.” Marty Walsh has also received criticism from fellow mayoral candidates, particularly District Attorney Dan Conley, for his refusal to sign a pledge vowing not to take money from special interest groups, who have a large portion of his campaign budget thus far.
Learn More About Marty Walsh
The primary election is Tuesday, September 24, and the final election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5. If you are not already registered to vote, find out how here: http://www.bostonurbannews.com/uncategorized/not-registered-to-vote-find-out-how-before-september/
To learn more about Marty Walsh’s career as a State Representative, view his legislator profile: https://malegislature.gov/people/profile/mjw1.
Visit his official mayoral campaign website: http://www.martywalsh.org/ .