City Councilor Michelle Wu announced on Tuesday that she plans to run for mayor in 2021, after Mayor Martin Walsh announced last week that she would be in the race.
Wu was elected City Councilor At-Large in 2013, and incumbent Mayor Walsh has not announced his campaign for re-election yet – though many have said he plans to do so after the first of the year.
“We’re in an unprecedented time as Boston faces a pandemic, an economic crisis, and a national reckoning on systemic racism,” Wu said in a statement. “To meet this moment, we need leadership that matches the scale and urgency of our challenges.”
Wu announced her candidacy in a video that is available in English, Spanish, and Mandarin, and outlines her vision as leader of Boston.
“Business as usual has been failing Bostonians since well before the pandemic, and COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated deep inequities across our city,” Wu said. “In this moment of crisis, it’s not only possible but necessary to reimagine community-based leadership with the vision and conviction to act. We can build wealth in all our communities, value public education, plan for our neighborhoods, invest in housing we can afford and transportation that serves everyone, truly fund public health for safety and healing, and deliver on a city Green New Deal for clean air and water, healthy homes, and the brightest future for our children.”
As part of her campaign, Wu explained that her mother struggled with mental illness, and she became a caretaker for her sisters.
“In those days as we were trying to figure out how to go on in the depths of family crisis, it felt like we were alone, invisible, and powerless,” she said in a campaign statement. “Through my family’s struggles, I’ve seen just how much government matters, and how big of a disconnect there often is when you most need help.”
Wu has a law degree, and has worked for Mayor Tom Menino and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on her first campaign.
“I saw how government and politics can help solve problems, remove barriers, and empower people,” she said in a campaign statement. That’s why I ran for City Council in 2013, and why I work every day to build community and push for the future that our kids deserve.”
Mayor Walsh commended Wu for her decision to run at his press conference on September 15, saying that “I have great respect for her or anyone who runs for office. I look forward to more conversations about how we can move our city forward, but right now we are battling the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He said his focus right now remains on economic recovery, aiding small businesses, safely reopening schools, getting homeless individuals and families into housing, reforming the police, and electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris “so my administration can have a partner in Washington over the next four years.”
So far, there hasn’t been any major endorsements coming for Wu from Charlestown. City Councilor Lydia Edwards – who many thought would back Wu – said this week she commends her for running and pointed out she is one of only a handful of women who have run for mayor. However, Edwards said she’s focused on getting Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden elected right now.
State Rep. Dan Ryan hasn’t yet commented on the potential mayoral race.
As a City Councilor, Wu has advocated for free transit for all and has spearheaded environmental initiatives like a Green New Deal for Boston and the Local Wetlands Protection Ordinance. She has also worked on equality issues for women and people of color.
According to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Wu’s campaign currently has $346,592 total cash on hand.
Recent expenditures include campaign emails, digital ads, and the campaign video.
“I know Boston can be a welcoming city where we can all thrive—and there’s so much more we need to do together,” Wu said in a campaign statement.
Wu will be holding several community events in the coming days, including a Charlestown Meet and Greet on September 20, a Jamaica Plain Standout on September 18, and a Grassroots Virtual Fundraiser on September 17, among others. Visit michelleforboston.com for more details.