Kim Janey

What to Know About Kim Janey, Who Is Poised to Become Boston's 1st Black, Woman Mayor

Janey would become mayor if incumbent Marty Walsh is confirmed as labor secretary

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Boston City Council President Kim Janey could soon have a new title -- mayor.

After incumbent Mayor Marty Walsh was formally announced this week as President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for labor secretary, Janey is poised to become the city's first Black mayor as well as its first female mayor.

Janey, 56, congratulated Walsh Thursday on his nomination, saying she was "ready to take the reins and lead our city through these difficult times" should he be confirmed for the role.

According to the Boston Globe, Janey would serve as acting mayor until the next election, but when that election happens depends on when Walsh officially vacates the role. If he leaves after March 5, Janey would stay in the role until the November general election. If he leaves before that date, the city council could call a special election before November.

City Councilors Andrea Campbell and Michelle Wu have already announced their candidacies for the position, but it remains to be seen whether Janey will throw her hat into the ring.

The developments catapult Janey, a longtime advocate for children and social justice, into the spotlight ahead of what could be a wide-open mayoral race.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh accepted the nomination to serve as President-elect Joe Biden’s secretary of labor, saying, “I look forward to working with you to deliver good jobs with dignity, security, prosperity and purpose to all American families.”

Janey has served as council president since 2019 after being elected to body two years earlier on a platform of bringing equity and wealth to the city. She serves District 7.

Janey served as a senior project director at the Massachusetts Advocates for Children, where, according to the city's official website, she advocated for "systemic policy reforms that would ensure equity and excellence in education for students in Boston Public Schools."

Janey's work for educational equity has been driven by her experiences growing up in Roxbury, where she experienced the racial and economic disparities in the school system, her biography says.

After being a student in the the Boston School District, Janey attended the Reading Public Schools through the METCO program. She graduated from Smith College as an Ada Comstock Scholar, according to her website.

As a councilor, Janey introduced an ordinance aiming to ensure equity in cannabis industry and, in the wake of racial justice protests this summer, led the council to draft a "Black and Brown Agenda" to explore ways to bolster communities of color, according to the Globe.

She is a member of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus and was elected in 2016 to the Boston NAACP Executive Committee.

If Walsh is confirmed, Janey would become mayor at a particularly challenging time, with the city and nation grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, which, as of Friday, had killed 1,033 people in the city.

Raheem Goode, who owns Boston Ink in the city's Mattapan neighborhood, said Friday it's not that leaders in the past didn't know what his community needed but that they didn't live the same life.

"They heard the needs of our community activists but they didn't so much live those needs. You know what I mean? It's different when you live those things and now you're in a position to change those things as opposed to just hearing about it," Goode said.

For Eric James who also works at Boston Ink, the mayor is everyone's mayor.

"Its a beautiful thing to watch Kim take on the mayor and change the community not just for minorities but for everyone," James said.

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