Boston's New Mayor Is a First on 2 Fronts

Kim Janey is the first woman and the first Black person to hold the office
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 23, 2021 9:45 AM CDT
Boston Has Its First Black Mayor
Boston City Council President Kim Janey is now the interim mayor.   (David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via AP, File)

Boston has a new mayor in Kim Janey, who became the city's first female and first person of color to take the office, per the AP. Marty Walsh resigned Monday evening to become President Biden's labor secretary, and Janey—the Boston City Council president—stepped into the role of acting mayor. She's scheduled to have a ceremonial swearing-in on Wednesday. By any typical political stopwatch, Janey's rise has been lightning quick. She was first sworn in as a city councilor just three years ago. Although Janey, 55, is holding the office only on an interim basis, she's widely seen as representing a new chapter in Boston's political history. Those actively seeking the office include three women of color—current city councilors Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell, and Annissa Essaibi George. John Barros, who's of Cape Verdean descent, and state Rep. Jon Santiago are also running.

Janey herself hasn't said whether she'll run as well. The interim mayor has a long history of activism in Boston, with deep roots in Roxbury, the heart of the city's Black community. Her grandfather, Daniel Benjamin Janey, was a member of the Twelfth Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worshipped while attending Boston University. Her father was one of only eight Black students to graduate from the city's prestigious Boston Latin School in 1964. While spending time in her great-grandmother's home in the city's South End neighborhood, Janey was also exposed to the city's political culture as she watched a neighbor—Black community activist and former state Rep. Mel King—launch a bid for mayor in 1983, losing to Ray Flynn, an Irish American city councilor.

(More Boston stories.)

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