Surrounded by a couple dozen supporters at a Brighton intersection, City Councilor John Connolly on Tuesday morning kicked-off his campaign for mayor of Boston and took aim at the failures of the city's public schools.
Transforming the city's public schools will be the cornerstone of the 39-year-old West Roxbury resident's campaign, he said.
"I think it gets a failing grade," Connolly said about the city's school system.
Much of Connolly's kick-off speech focused on "transforming" the Boston Public Schools system. He said he didn't expect many endorsements, but will have "an army of moms and dads" working for his campaign. He talked about being a middle school teacher in New York and raising his daughters here in Boston and how his daughter attends public school.
It is still unclear whether Connolly will face Mayor Thomas Menino. The 70-year-old is the longest serving mayor in the city's history and has yet to announce if he will run for re-election this fall. Menino's office has not yet responded to a request for comment on Connolly's campaign.
While Connolly quickly praised Menino in his speech calling him "a good man," he also talked about a need for a change in Boston's leadership and hinted at Menino's decades-long control of the city.
"This campaign is about Boston's future and the need for new ideas and new energy," Connolly said. He later added "We are doing things the same way because that's how they've always been done."
While much of Connolly's speech focused on working for parents and improving the city's public schools, he told Metro after his event that he will also work on retaining young talent and housing incentives for young people who are priced out of being Boston residents.
"We need to do a much better job keeping young talent in this city. Young talent flocks to our colleges and universities, but they're often forced to leave because they can't afford to stay," he said.
Connolly said retaining young talent will mean prioritizing housing incentives for "young artists and young entrepreneurs" and that's something he will work for.
"We’re going to roll out big ideas on every issue," he said.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.