Labor Secretary Marty Walsh returned to Boston Monday to promote paid family and medical leave in his first public appearance in the city since joining the Biden administration.
"It's obviously bittersweet," Walsh said of being back. "For the last four months, we've been traveling the country. I've been to 20 different states."
Walsh gave remarks in front of the Boston Public Library as part of the "Paid Leave for All" campaign, a cross-country bus tour calling on lawmakers to pass a national paid leave policy. As mayor of Boston, he spearheaded paid leave for city workers.
"This issue is gender equity. This issue is racial equity," he said.
"It's great touring the country. It's great seeing different cities and towns," he said. "It's funny, when I go there, I size it up as a mayor. So I see what we could do there, what we could do here."
Walsh was also asked how he thinks Actor Mayor Kim Janey has performed since he left.
"Kim is doing a good job. Everybody's doing a good job," he said. "I'm going to leave it like that. You know, I'm not even really watching the mayor's race right now."
He said because of his position as labor secretary, he can't give an endorsement in the race.
"My job precludes me from getting involved in politics, so I can't get involved," he said. "I can't give my opinion, nor should I."
Walsh has faced criticism from those who say he left Janey with a mess to clean up, particularly in regard to the Boston Police Department. Questions have arisen over Walsh's decision to promote fired police commissioner Dennis White before resigning as mayor of Boston.
White was appointed quickly by Walsh following the resignation of William Gross, but worked as commissioner for two days before Walsh suspended him after the Boston Globe inquired about past allegations of domestic violence contained in court records.
"It's unfortunate. The one situation that I feel bad about is the Dennis White situation. I made it very clear I wanted to resolve that situation before I left. And unfortunately, I wasn't able to."
Janey fired White in June after a protracted legal battle.
Asked how his Boston accent was received around the country, he insisted his is stronger than that of White House Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy.
"People like it," he said. "They have no idea what we're talking about. But they like it."
And he joked about his coffee withdrawal from Dunkin' and his Dorchester neighborhood favorite.
"I'm going to stop at Doughboy on the way back right now and get one," he said.