Boston Mayor Kim Janey painted a vision of parity and highlighted her ties to the city she grew up in when launching her campaign for a full term Tuesday.
"I bring to City Hall and to this race my life experience like none of my predecessors," Janey said. "Those experiences inform how I govern and how I will lead the city through a lens of equity, justice and love for every Bostonian."
Janey pointed to her work over a busy first two weeks on the job during a press briefing in Roxbury Tuesday morning after initially releasing a video ad announcing her campaign. Janey made history as the first Black and first female mayor of Boston when she took over for now U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh two weeks ago.
"When I was sworn in as the first Black and first woman mayor of Boston, I talked about how far our city has come, but also about how much work we still have to do," Janey said. "And I've gotten to work."
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Since her swearing in, Janey has launched a city hotline for vaccine appointments and announced a Vaccine Equity Grant Initiative to ensure equal access. She got her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, called on the MBTA to restore pre-pandemic level service, established a pilot program to support employees in Boston's five Main Street Districts and unveiled a $50 million addition to the city's Rental Relief Fund.
"As mayor, I am focused first and foremost on leading the city's efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic," Janey said. "I am here today to announce that I am running for a full term as mayor to ensure we continue to get that work and so much more done for the people of Boston."
Janey identified and vowed to address challenges facing the city, including pandemic-related problems like vaccine equity, reopening schools as well as long-standing issues such as systemic racism, unreliable transportation and a lack of affordable housing.
"The work to address the challenges we face from COVID and racial inequalities that have been inherited from centuries of structural racism will take longer than a few months to change," Janey said. "It is going to take fearless leadership, bold action and a commitment to doing the hard work to make Boston the equitable city, our residents want, need, and deserve."
Additionally, Janey said she plans to implement police reforms that will "bring safety healing and justice to all of our neighborhoods."
"We need to reimagine policing in our city," Janey said.
Janey joins a diverse pool of five local politicians who are vying for the next full term in an upcoming election. Over the past six months, Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell and Annissa Essaibi George, State Rep. Jon Santiago and Boston's former chief of economic development John Barros have announced campaigns to take the helm.
"It comes down to this - as we recover together as a city, we can't simply go back to the way things were," Janey said. "Our only option is to go better. A better Boston, a stronger Boston, a more equitable Boston."
The video announcement recounts the past and present people of color who blazed the trail, including Mel King, Melnea Cass, Bruce Bolling, Ayanna Pressley and Rachael Rollins. Janey acknowledged them again during the press briefing Tuesday.
"I am standing here today because of people like Melnea Cass, who is behind me, the mother of Roxbury," Janey said. "I also stand on the shoulders of so many others like the great Mel King, whose mayoral campaign I've volunteered on and elected leaders like the late Doris Bunty, District Attorney Rachael Rollins and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley - women who shattered glass ceilings and helped make this moment to possible."
A fourth-generation Roxbury resident, Janey is a mother, grandmother, sister and daughter. She built her career as a longtime education advocate and non-profit leader.
"As a daughter of Roxbury and the South End, I understand the challenges so many of our residents are facing from structural racism, food and housing insecurity, failing schools and faltering public transportation hurdles to homeownership and the fear for our families and neighbors safety," Janey said. I understand these challenge because I have lived them."
She was elected to the Boston City Council in 2017, becoming the first woman to represent district seven. In 2020 she became President of the most diverse City Council in Boston’s history.