Raymond Flynn

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This article is about the American politician. For the Irish middle distance runner, see Ray Flynn (athlete).
Raymond Flynn
2009 RayFlynn Boston.png
Flynn at a political rally in Boston in October 2009
52nd Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts
In office
Preceded by Kevin H. White
Succeeded by Thomas M. Menino
United States Ambassador to the Holy See
In office
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Thomas Patrick Melady
Succeeded by Lindy Boggs
Personal details
Born Raymond Leo Flynn
(1939-07-22) July 22, 1939 (age 77)
South Boston, Massachusetts
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Catherine Coyne Flynn[1]
Parents Stephen Flynn and Lillian Kirby Flynn[1]
Alma mater Providence College (B.A., Public Administration, 1963)
Harvard University (M.A., Education, 1981)[2]
Religion Roman Catholic

Raymond Leo Flynn (born July 22, 1939), known as Ray Flynn, served as Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts from 1984 until 1993. He was later appointed United States Ambassador to the Holy See (1993–1997) by President Bill Clinton.

Early life[edit]

Before entering politics, Flynn was an All-American basketball player at Providence College, was selected Most Valuable Player in the 1963 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) during his senior year, and was the last player cut from the then-World Champion Boston Celtics. Earlier, he was drafted in 1963 by the Syracuse Nationals (who later moved to Philadelphia to become the 76ers) in the fourth round of that year's NBA draft.

Political career[edit]

Flynn began his political career as a Democratic member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1971 to 1979, representing the South Boston neighborhood during the turbulent busing crisis of the early 1970s. He later served on the Boston City Council from 1978 to 1984, before successfully running for Mayor of Boston in 1983. He was reelected in 1987 and again in 1991.

Flynn, a lifelong pro-life activist, was instrumental in drawing the pro-life, Catholic vote to pro-choice Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas in his 1992 bid for the White House against incumbent George H. W. Bush. In 1993, Flynn resigned during his third term as mayor when he was appointed by Clinton to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.

Following his service as ambassador, Flynn ran unsuccessfully for Massachusetts's 8th congressional district seat that was being vacated by Joseph Patrick Kennedy II in 1998.

In 2012 Flynn crossed party lines to star in television ads advocating the re-election of Republican United States Senator Scott Brown. He also voiced support for Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president.

Private life[edit]

While serving as mayor, Flynn played himself in the Cheers episode "The Stork Brings A Crane". In the episode Flynn has his entourage take away Cliff Clavin, who writes Flynn once a week.

In 1999, Flynn became president of Catholic Alliance, a nonpartisan Catholic advocacy group.[3] In this role, while remaining a Democrat, he and the Catholic Alliance endorsed George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election.[4] He became president of another Catholic political advocacy organization, Your Catholic Voice. Flynn left this group to start Catholic Citizenship, serving as its National Chairman from 2004 until 2008. Since 2004 he has also served on the advisory board of Catholics for the Common Good, a lay apostolate for evangelization of culture. In 2010, he supported the successful candidacy of Republican Scott Brown for the United States Senate.[5]

In 2007, he was named Grand marshal of the 246th consecutive New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade. Additionally, in 2007 he joined the College of Fellows of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California.

In March, 2011 Flynn's home was broken into. Among the valuables taken were rosary beads blessed by Pope John Paul II and letters from influential world figures.[6]

Flynn is married to Catherine (née Coyne). They have six children: Ray, Jr., Eddie, Julie, Nancy, Katie, and Maureen.[1]


Flynn is the co-author of two books:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Kevin White
Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Thomas Menino
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Thomas Patrick Melady
US Ambassador to the Holy See
Succeeded by
Corinne Claiborne Boggs