Marty Walsh (politician)

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Marty Walsh
Walsh in 2015
Walsh in 2015
United States Secretary of Labor
Assuming office
PresidentJoe Biden (elect)
SucceedingEugene Scalia
54th Mayor of Boston
Assumed office
January 6, 2014
Preceded byThomas Menino
Succeeded byTBD
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
from the 13th Suffolk district
In office
April 12, 1997 – January 3, 2014
Preceded byJames T. Brett
Succeeded byDaniel J. Hunt
Personal details
Martin Joseph Walsh

(1967-04-10) April 10, 1967 (age 53)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationBoston College (BA)
WebsiteOfficial website

Martin Joseph Walsh (born April 10, 1967) is an Irish-American[1] politician from Boston, Massachusetts. A Democrat, he has served as the 54th mayor of Boston since 2014.[2] He was previously a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, serving in that office from 1997 until 2014 and representing the Thirteenth Suffolk district. On January 7, 2021, it was reported that president-elect Joe Biden selected Walsh to serve as the United States Secretary of Labor in the upcoming Biden administration.[3]

Early life[edit]

Walsh was born in Dorchester, Boston, to John Walsh, an Irish American originally from Callowfeenish, a townland near Carna, County Galway, and Mary (née O'Malley), from Rosmuc.[4] The couple emigrated to the United States in the 1950s[5] and gave birth to Marty in 1967.

Walsh grew up in the Savin Hill area of Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. He was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma at age 7, forcing him to miss most of second and third grade and repeat fifth grade. At age 11, after going through years of chemotherapy, a scan revealed no traces of the cancer.[6] He went to high school at The Newman School and, in 2009, received a bachelor's degree from the Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College.[7]

Early political career[edit]

Labor positions[edit]

Walsh joined the Laborers' Union Local 223 at age 21 and served as the union's president until he became the mayor of Boston.[8]

He was elected secretary-treasurer and general agent of the Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council, a union umbrella group, in the fall of 2010. In 2011, Walsh was named head of the Boston Building Trades, a position that came with a $175,000 yearly salary.[9] Walsh resigned his post when he announced he was running for mayor in 2013.[10]

State representative[edit]

Walsh was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1997. He represented the Thirteenth district of Suffolk County, which includes Dorchester and one precinct in Quincy.[11] He was the Chairman of the Committee on Ethics, and served as a Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party Labor Caucus.[12] During his tenure he also served as the co-chair for the Special Commission on Public Construction Reform.[13]

On February 13, 2013, Walsh introduced a bill to have The Modern Lovers song "Roadrunner" be named the official rock song of Massachusetts.[14] The song's writer, Jonathan Richman, came out against this, saying, "I don't think the song is good enough to be a Massachusetts song of any kind."[15]


2013 mayoral election[edit]

In April 2013, Walsh announced he would run for Mayor of Boston in the 2013 mayoral election.[16] He resigned the Trades Council position in April 2013 after formally announcing his bid for mayor.[17]

Walsh campaigned on the promise to champion a 24-hour Boston, including extending the hours of operation of the "T" into the night.[18] The MBTA answers to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which is a state and not city agency, but Walsh campaigned on the promise to extend MBTA service thanks to his tenure in the state house. "As a 16-year veteran of the House," he said, "I am uniquely qualified to negotiate transportation plans with the legislature."[19]

On September 24, 2013, Walsh received a plurality of the vote, among twelve candidates in the mayoral preliminary election, with 18.4% of the vote.[20] As a result, he advanced to the general election, facing second place vote-getter Boston City Councilor John R. Connolly, who received 17.2% of the vote.[20] Walsh defeated Connolly in the general election on November 5, 2013, with 51.5% of the vote, compared to Connolly's 48.1%.[21]

First term[edit]

Olympic bid[edit]

Boston was originally selected as the United States' bid city for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Walsh supported the bid.

While in October of 2015, Walsh had signed a letter stating that he would sign the Host City Contract without reservation, he stated in July of 2015 that he was not comfortable signing the financial guarantee in its current form at that time.[22] This was one of a number of events that led to the cancelation of Boston's bid for the Olympics on July 27, 2015.

Sanctuary city status[edit]

In a speech given on January 25, 2017, Walsh reaffirmed Boston's status as a sanctuary city for people living in the country without documentation. The address was given in the same week that President Donald Trump threatened to pull federal funding to cities that have a policy of protecting illegal immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws. A defiant Walsh said: "If people want to live here, they'll live here. They can use my office. They can use any office in this building.[23]

2017 mayoral election[edit]

In July 2017, Walsh announced he would seek a second term in the 2017 mayoral election.[24] On September 26, 2017, he received 62% of the vote in the preliminary election. He advanced to the general election and faced second place vote-getter, Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, who had received 29% of the vote. Walsh defeated Jackson in the general election held on November 7,[25] with 65% of the vote, compared to Jackson's 34%.

Second term[edit]

Social issues[edit]

During the 2020 uprisings against police violence, Boston area activists called on Walsh to reduce spending on Boston Police Department by at least 10% for the 2021 fiscal budget. Walsh instead diverted $12 million from police overtime spending, less than 3% of the overall department budget.[26][27]

Biden administration[edit]

On January 7, 2021, he was nominated by president-elect Joe Biden to serve as Secretary of Labor.[28] Should he be confirmed by the United States Senate, he will assume office on or after January 20, 2021.

Personal life[edit]

Walsh resides in the Lower Mills neighborhood of Dorchester with his long-time girlfriend Lorrie Higgins.[29][30] He is a recovering alcoholic, with more than twenty years of continuous sobriety in a twelve-step program.[31]

Walsh has been a season ticket holder of American football's New England Patriots since franchise owner Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994.[32]

He is a Roman Catholic.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Deegan, Gordon. "Boston mayor welcomed back to the land of his parents". The Irish Times. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  2. ^ Ryan, Andrew (January 7, 2014). "With theme of unity, Walsh takes helm as mayor of Boston". The Boston Globe. p. A.1. Retrieved March 17, 2018 – via
  3. ^ Staff, Politico (January 7, 2021). "Biden chooses Boston mayor Walsh as Labor secretary". POLITICO. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  4. ^ Lorna Siggins, Mairtin O Cathain (November 7, 2013). "Boston mayor with Connemara roots promises to visit next Spring". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  5. ^ "Walsh's cancer fight marked his youth". The Boston Globe. October 20, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  6. ^ Marty Walsh cancer battle,; accessed April 22, 2014.
  7. ^ "Member Profile - Martin J. Walsh". Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  8. ^ Ryan, Andrew (September 25, 2013). "Path carries Martin Walsh closer to his dream". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  9. ^ Milton, Valencia (September 30, 2015). "Teamsters face charges over Top Chef harassment". Boston Globe. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  10. ^ Dumcius, Gintautas (December 1, 2010). "Walsh to take key union post; plans to keep House seat". Dorchester Reporter. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  11. ^ Quinn, Garrett (November 21, 2013). "Boston Mayor-elect Marty Walsh says goodbye to the State House". masslive.
  12. ^ Ryan, Andrew (April 10, 2013). "State Representative Martin J. Walsh formally announces bid for mayor of Boston". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  13. ^ Bernstein, David S. (September 18, 2013). "Is Marty Walsh Too Much of a Union Guy To Be Trusted?". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  14. ^ "Representative Marty Walsh wants ‘Roadrunner’ named official rock song of Massachusetts",, February 11, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
  15. ^ /00:00Playing Live (November 2, 2013). "Arts And The Next Mayor: What Boston Wants And What It May Get | The ARTery". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  16. ^ "Rep. Walsh announces run for Boston mayor". Wicked Local. April 10, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  17. ^ Ryan, Andrew (April 10, 2013). "State Representative Martin J. Walsh formally announces bid for mayor of Boston". Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  18. ^ "Holding Mayor-elect Marty Walsh to his promise to extend night service on the MBTA". Boston Globe. November 10, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  19. ^ "Boston mayoral candidates respond to questions about MBTA". Boston Globe. September 12, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  20. ^ a b "City of Boston, Preliminary Municipal Election, September 24, 2013" (PDF). City of Boston Elections Department.
  21. ^ "Boston Municipal Election, November 5, 2013 - Mayor". City of Boston Elections Department.
  22. ^ Bird, Hayden (July 31, 2015). "In Fact, Mayor Walsh Did Agree to Sign a 2024 Taxpayer Guarantee". BostInno.
  23. ^ Irons, Meghan E.; Guerra, Cristela (January 25, 2017). "Walsh rails against Trump, calls immigration actions 'direct attack'". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  24. ^ "Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Kicks Off Re-Election Bid". WBZ-TV. July 22, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  25. ^ "Marty Walsh Re-Elected As Mayor Of Boston". WBZ-TV. November 7, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  26. ^ Walters, Quincy (June 24, 2020). "Despite Strong Criticism Of Police Spending, Boston City Council Passes Budget". WBUR. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  27. ^ Walters, Quincy (June 12, 2020). "Walsh Declares Racism 'A Public Health Crisis,' Proposes To Divert Less Than 3% Of Police Budget To Other Services". WBUR. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  28. ^ Lynch, David J.; Stein, Jeff; Rosenberg, Eli; Freedman, Andrew. "Biden to name Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for labor". Retrieved January 8, 2021 – via
  29. ^ Mayor Walsh set to move to Lower Mills home, July 24, 2015
  30. ^ Profile of Mayor-elect Walsh, November 7, 2013.
  31. ^ In race for Boston mayor, former addicts back candidate with a past,; accessed April 22, 2014.
  32. ^ "Robert Kraft likes idea of draft in Boston". May 8, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  33. ^ "Early struggles gave Martin Walsh a solid underpinning". Retrieved November 23, 2013.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Menino
Mayor of Boston