We got specific today with Rep. Martin J. (Marty) Walsh, candidate for Boston mayor. With 13, maybe even 15, running to succeed Tom Menino, Walsh has the shared problem â€” differentiating himself.
Particularly when the current craze is speed-dating-style candidate fora (45-seconds per complex topic per candidate), being the one voters remember is tough. Walsh does have some strong platform planks. He also figures the group sprint to September’s preliminary will take both issues and shoe leather. While a 16-year-tenure state Rep., he still acts in many ways like a City Councilor, forever concerned with constituent services. He reminded me of US Rep. Mike Capuano, who still calls in potholes as he did when he was Somerville’s mayor.
We got deeply into education. He’s been quoted with vague talk about continuing and accelerating Menino’s public-school improvements. Listen in as he speaks to very specific goals and methods, including longer school days, maybe with pre- and post-school programming involving outside groups. He has the ideas and figures as a strong union guy, he has a leg up on implementing his proposals.
Walsh figures education will be one of three key issues in this race, along with economic development and public safety. He explained how those vary in emphasis by neighborhood, and how other concerns were more important from place to place.
Walsh spoke to working with parents of newborns to three-year-olds as well, impressing on them how formative those years are. He went into how improving the schools and giving kids the resources (including GEDs as needed), and ensuring there are recovery programs for alcoholic and other drug abuse. Listen in as he paints his vision of an education system that offers kids what they need at ever stage.
He also has a wide view of crime prevention and public safety. While he doesn’t expect another Boston Miracle, he thinks the same constituents, including ministers, police, courts, community and of course city hall has to be part of it.
He also spoke of the two-phase race of preliminary and municipal. He does think that issues will make the difference for the November final. Yet to get to be one of the two in that race will require a Menino-style effort. The beloved outgoing mayor is literally a fixture in every neighborhood, subneighborhood and civic gathering. Walsh figures that Menino has set that standard and the final two will be those who have knocked on enough doors and shook enough hands to have people say, “I know Marty.”