Groups offer their priorities for Mayor-elect Marty Walsh

boston marty walsh mayor
Boston Mayor-elect Marty Walsh spoke with reporters on the Boston Common the day after his victory.
Credit: Jeremiah Robinson/Metro

As the city’s first new mayor in 20 years, Mayor-elect Marty Walsh will have a lot of decisions to make in order to shape the city, its departments and its future. 

While it’s not yet clear what his first order of business will be, it is clear that a lot of people have a lot of ideas for what should top Walsh’s priority list.

Metro asked members of various organizations what they believe Walsh should focus on when he takes office in less than two months. The answers varied from supporting businesses and innovation to advocating for expanded public transit.

For Hannah Huke, a member of the city’s ONEin3 council that was launched by Mayor Thomas Menino, the focus should be on fostering the city’s innovation community. She believes it would help keep young people in Boston.

“It would help make it more favorable to set up shop here and grow here and create their roots in the city,” she said.

Shea Coakley, a fellow ONEin3 council member and the founder of LeanBox, said that finding ways to keep the entrepreneurial support going should be a priority.

“Boston is solidifying itself as the start-up capital of the East Coast. There should be programs that continue to nurture the entrepreneurial environment,” he said.

During the campaign, Walsh said he was a proponent of late-night MBTA service. Advocating for a transit system that meets the needs of people who commute outside of rush-hour times is one of the transit-oriented priorities Walsh should have, said Stuart Spina, a member of the T Riders Union.

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce sees education and job growth as areas Walsh should prioritize. Both of those areas help keep the business climate competitive, said Jim Klocke, executive vice president of the Chamber.

“If we have job growth we can do an awful lot of great things in Boston,” Klocke said.

However, not everyone believes that Walsh should have a single priority to focus on during his first weeks in office.

Greg Selkoe, the founder of the Future Boston Alliance, said he believes Walsh should meet with the residents of Boston during his transition to figure out a plan for his administration.

“It doesn’t make sense to just tackle something right out of the gate,” Selkoe said. “He should start soliciting conversations around the city to put together an agenda.”

Walsh, who just returned from a vacation in Turks and Caicos, is still working with his transition team and said on Monday that he would make more announcements later this week.

At his first news conference as mayor-elect earlier this month, Walsh said he received some advice from Menino.

“He basically said a lot of people are going to be coming at you, you’re going to have a lot of friends now. He said be careful, move forward and he said always keep the residents and the city of Boston number one,” Walsh said.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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