Inauguration Speech by Boston City Council President Michelle Wu

Thank you fellow Boston City Councilors. Thank you for putting your trust in me to support your work and to lead the meetings of this council over the next two years.

I am proud to be a member of the Boston City Council and grateful to work with colleagues who are strong advocates and good people. Thank you, Councilor Linehan, for your leadership over the last two years.
Fellow councilors congratulate Wu’s election as Boston City Council President(file photo).

I want to recognize all the family, friends, and guests who are here with us today as we embark on a new term.

Your love and support makes our work possible and often comes with great personal sacrifice. We are so grateful to have you as partners in service to the City. I’m of course most grateful for my lovely family – my husband Conor, my sisters Sherelle and Tori who are here. Don’t worry, Blaise is in the building – down in City Hall Child Care on the 4th floor.

He’s in these chambers so often that I’m sure he’s already banged the gavel before mom has.

I also want to thank our City Clerk Maureen Feeney–former Council President—as well as the City Council Central Staff and all Councilors’ staff members. You are often our eyes and ears, and you keep everything running smoothly.

We appreciate the work that you will be putting in these next two years to make our city’s government a voice and service for our fellow citizens.

And thank you to Mayor Walsh, who just presided over a beautiful Inauguration ceremony earlier this morning. His leadership has helped to set a tone of collaboration and partnership with the Council.

Together with the Mayor, the Boston City Council has been taking the lead on important issues where state and federal government has yet to act.

Over the last term, we stood up for working families, passing paid parental leave for city workers.
We passed the Trust Act, highlighting that Boston is a city where immigrant families are welcome.
We passed a diesel emissions reduction ordinance, to make sure Boston is setting the standard for sustainability.
We created opportunities for small businesses and artists, reducing red tape to encourage more vibrant neighborhoods.

I look forward to continuing to partner with the Mayor and his Administration in making strides forward for our city.

Today we officially welcome our two newest colleagues, Councilor Andrea Campbell and Councilor Annissa Essaibi George.

Congratulations, and thank you for stepping up to serve.

Your voices will be important additions to the conversations in this Chamber and your service will be felt throughout the city.

Know that all of our doors will be open to you as you work towards the goals that called you to run for office.

To all my colleagues: your willingness to subject yourselves to spotlight and scrutiny – sometimes fair, often unfair – testifies to character and integrity in each of you. It’s easy to give up and be cynical or critical from the sidelines, but you’ve had the courage to put yourselves forward and that says something special about each of you. I’m proud to serve with you all.

Today’s Boston City Council brings together diverse experiences and family backgrounds.

Some of us are from families who came to Boston generations ago, and some from families who arrived more recently.

We are former labor union members, entrepreneurs, long-time City employees, public interest attorneys, and a teacher.

We are moms and dads, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors.

These experiences–struggles and joys–truly matter. In this Chamber, every debate is informed by our own families’ lives and those of our constituents.

We don’t just think and talk about policy, but feel the challenges and impacts.

We are sworn in today at a time of historic inequality and uneven opportunity in our country and our city.

This lack of opportunity has led to stark divisions in Boston. In some parts of our City, we see increased profits, gleaming offices, and growing workforces. But in too many parts of our City, we see skyrocketing housing costs, nightly gunshots, devastating opioid addiction, insufficient mental health supports, imbalanced schools, and stagnant wages that haven’t kept pace with the costs of supporting a family.

We have a wealth gap that splits along lines of race and geography. Too many Bostonians are worrying that coming generations will be worse off, and will have it harder than their parents or their grandparents did.

Against this backdrop, the work of city government is more vital than ever. In this term, we will take action on reducing income inequality, reforming our criminal justice system, improving educational opportunities, and preparing for climate change

This Council comprises 13 strong and committed advocates who have knowledge and experience confronting many of the issues we’re facing.

Our committee assignments will make the most not only of your knowledge and experience, but also of your passion for and commitment to specific issues. By putting you to work on the things you care about most, we will create a climate that revolves around a fundamental principle: your achievements are the Council’s achievements, and your success is the Council’s success.

This term, we will create new committees to focus our resources on today’s pressing challenges:

· A new committee on Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery
· A new committee on Jobs, Wages & Workforce Development
· A finer focus with reshaped committees on Environment & Sustainability, and on Parks, Recreation & Transportation.
· An expanded committee to include not just Public Safety, but Public Safety & Criminal Justice

Most of all, we will open up the business of the Council with a focus on transparency and accessibility.

Working with the Administration, we will relaunch the Boston City Council website to make legislative dockets, committee hearing schedules, and Council business easier to understand and track online.

We will bring the Council directly into the neighborhoods, asking each Committee Chair to host a Town Hall on his or her Committee’s area of focus to help us set an action agenda for the term.

Boston has a history of showing that citizens can make a difference.

Democracy started here, and we will carry on that legacy, knowing that the key to progress is empowering people to get involved.

There is much to be done, and there is great energy on this Council and in this city to do it.

Thank you for the opportunity to lead this body, and the opportunity to continue to serve this city we all love. Together, I look forward to working with all of you to expand opportunity for all Boston residents, and make our government more transparent, accessible, and inclusive.