Janey has a notably progressive track record, and there is already buzz among left-leaning organizers and voters on social media.
Perhaps you’ve heard the news by now—Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, formerly a Dorchester state rep and labor organizer, has been tapped by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as the next secretary of the Department of Labor. From Politico, which broke the story:
President-elect Joe Biden has picked Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a former top union leader, to serve as his Labor secretary, according to four sources, ending a selection process that split the labor movement and stoked diversity concerns among Democrats.
Walsh beat out a host of other names floated for the position, including Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), former Deputy Labor Secretary Seth Harris, California Labor Secretary Julie Su and AFL-CIO Chief Economist Bill Spriggs. His selection suggests that Biden was willing to overlook calls for a more diverse choice, since Walsh is a white man, and Asian American and Pacific Islanders had been lobbying heavily for Su. Spriggs is Black.
And here is CNN with some more national perspective:
The decision to select Walsh, which was first reported by Politico, is a victory for AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who rallied his federation of 56 unions to back the Boston mayor soon after Biden won the election in November. … Walsh’s selection could meet some backlash from progressives, who favored Su or Levin, whose path was complicated by the thin House Democratic majority.
As some outlets have noted, by joining the Biden team, Walsh will avoid a potentially messy race for reelection in Boston. Though he’s sitting on bundles of campaign cash and remains popular by many measures, his challengers—City Councilors Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell—made it certain that Walsh would have to defend his record. From issues relating to development to the mayor’s recent veto of an ordinance that would restrict the use of tear gas and rubber bullets by police, that wasn’t going to be easy.
Instead, City Council President Kim Janey will take over the big office after Walsh leaves for DC (according to the Dorchester Reporter, City Clerk Maureen Feeney said “if Walsh was to leave his City Hall post before March 2021, a special election would be scheduled. If he leaves after March, the September primary election would be the next window to begin picking a new mayor)”. Janey was elected to represent District 7 in 2017, and is currently serving a second term. This will make her the first Black person as well as the first woman to serve as mayor of Boston.
The Roxbury councilor released the following statement on Thursday afternoon:
I want to start by congratulating Mayor Walsh on his nomination for U.S. Secretary of Labor. His deep love for the City, and his dedication to working people and good jobs, have left a remarkable impact, and his legacy will show that dedication.
Should Mayor Walsh be confirmed by the Senate, I am ready to take the reins and lead our city through these difficult times. I look forward to working with the Walsh administration and my colleagues on the Council to ensure a smooth transition, as we address the unprecedented challenges facing our city.
Janey has a notably progressive track record, and there is already buzz among left-leaning organizers and voters on social media. As one Dig reader already commented, “I choose not to see it as Walsh news. I choose to see it as first Black woman Mayor of Boston news.”