The Right Choice for Boston Now
September 11, 2013
It has been 20 years since the people of Boston elected a new mayor. This January, after a long and successful tenure, the Honorable Thomas M. Menino will step down. As a political figure, Menino dominated an era in Boston, insisting on the timely delivery of basic services while opening a new frontier for development on the South Boston waterfront. Menino modernized and expanded the scope of a powerful office. His successor will inherit state-of-the-art operations in some parts of city government. Other parts of city government will require immediate attention to improve.
What happens next is for the people—more specifically, for the voters—to decide. The field of well-qualified candidates for mayor validates our faith in Boston’s storied political culture. Our sincere gratitude extends to all of these leading citizens for the sacrifices they’ve made and the hard work they’ve invested. The variety of ideas and perspectives framed by this campaign will serve the ongoing dialogue about the city’s future admirably.
South Boston Online endorses John Connolly for Mayor of Boston. Among this distinguished field, John Connolly stands out as the candidate most clearly attuned to the city’s pressing needs and as the candidate best prepared to address them.
Endorsing a candidate is a departure for us: we generally observe a standing practice of editorial neutrality in politics. The City of Boston very rarely gets to choose a new mayor, however, and the mayors we choose tend to stay a while. Every mayor since John B. Hynes in 1949 has served at least two full terms, and the last three (Kevin White, Ray Flynn, and Tom Menino) all served longer. Given the circumstances, we feel obligated to urge voters to choose wisely.
Since declaring his candidacy, Connolly has distinguished himself among the crowd of would-be Menino successors by articulating the priorities that will define his administration, the same priorities he has acted upon for six years in the Boston City Council chambers. His record is clear.
As in his political decisions, John Connolly has shown courage in his choice of campaign priorities. Boston Politics 101 says you don’t win elections talking about schools. But Connolly has insisted on putting schools front and center. As a former teacher in an urban middle school, he knows about the challenges of school reform in Boston. He’s worked in schools that have helped city kids overcome difficult circumstances and end up on better paths in life. “Schools that work,” as Connolly plainly puts it. “If we want to give our kids the best, we have to give them great schools.” Is that even possible? John Connolly insists that it is.
We agree. At a time when many people downtown have thrown up their hands over painfully slow improvements in the Boston Public Schools—in drop-out rates, test scores, college and career readiness—we respect the leadership John Connolly has shown to focus municipal attention on areas that need it.
State Representative Nick Collins endorsed John Connolly for his proven commitment to “providing quality schools close to home, giving people a real voice in neighborhood concerns like development, and increasing public safety.” While many candidates embrace these positions, John Connolly has outlined straightforward ideas to work these priorities more effectively into practice, to embrace what works, and to change the things that need to change. His proposals have remained consistent, if increasingly detailed, since the very start of the race—back when John Connolly was the only candidate willing to challenge a powerful incumbent mayor undecided about seeking reelection.We liked that a lot about John Connolly then. And we still do. John Connolly’s early declaration reflects a personality strong enough to make hard decisions and the necessary confidence to see those decisions through. He is the right choice for Boston today and for Boston’s tomorrow.
We urge all readers—fellow citizens!—to do their civic duty and vote in the Tuesday, September 24th primary and the Tuesday, November 5th general election.