Menino's decision opens up mayor's race
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Mayor Thomas Menino’s departure marks the first open mayor’s race in Boston since 1983.
His decision not to run again is expected to trigger a political scramble to replace him as a new generation of political figures eye the mayor's office.
It was an emotional scene Thursday as Menino told his staffers he will continue to work hard during his last nine months as the city’s chief executive. Among those who met with Menino Thursday morning were city councilors who were eyeing his job, all intent not to steal the limelight.
City Councilor John Connolly announced his mayoral intentions last month, regardless of Menino's decision. Connolly, 39, graduated from Harvard and Boston College Law.
Connolly said Menino’s impact on the city will never be matched.
“I think about my first meeting ever with him, when he as mayor and I was a rookie city councilor, and he told me to learn the city budget inside out because if you don’t have a budget you can’t help people, and it said everything about him. For him, this is all about helping people, but he’s also such a craftsman and so smart that he gives a rookie city councilor that advice: Learn that budget inside out,” said Connolly.
Connolly said he won’t be the only candidate for long.
“This office opens up once in a long while so I think everybody has to take a look and it will be good for Boston to have a big field talking about ideas and challenges, but [Thursday] really should be about the mayor,” said Connolly.
Other city councilors are weighing their options.
“There’s a lot of time to do other thinking, but I think today we focus on the great work that he’s done,” said Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson.
“The city of Boston is going to have a real long conversation over the next few months about what will keep this city moving forward,” said Boston City Councilor Felix Arroyo.
Like Menino, City Councilor Rob Consalvo calls Hyde Park home and he hinted strongly he’d like to follow in Menino’s footsteps.
“We thank the mayor for all the great work that he’s done and now that he’s not running I think it’s an awesome opportunity for everybody to get in the race. If I get in I welcome 25 candidates in the race so we can have a strong debate and dialogue about issues in the city,” said Consalvo.
Longtime City Councilor Charles Yancey may also be in the running.
“I will consult with family and my campaign organization and make a decision quickly,” said Yancey. “I don’t think it would be responsible of me serving in city government for as long as I have and having a passion for the city, a vision for the city, for me not to consider [a run for mayor].”
On April 17, candidates can apply for nomination papers, which is their first step in getting their name on the ballot. A preliminary election is scheduled for Sept. 24. The final elected will be held on Nov. 5.