I don’t live in the city of Boston, but if I did, I’d vote for Marty Walsh on November 5. (This endorsement is only for myself; my esteemed co-editors Charley and Bob have not yet stated their views on this race.)
As with the Fifth Congressional District, there is a very strong field. In this race, two excellent candidates are running. Both are solid progressives on most social issues; both have advanced thoughtful plans on education, housing, and other big issues to move the city forward. And neither candidate is perfect. Walsh’s bill on binding arbitration seems like a bad idea, from what I’ve read of it, and Connolly seems overly solicitous of the education “reform” movement, even as some prominent former boosters of that movement have turned dramatically against it. Also, as I said some time ago, I wish Walsh had handled the question of outside money in the race differently. And, you know, I taught high school for two years before I went to law school, but if I ran for office, it wouldn’t occur to me to portray myself as primarily “a teacher.”
In this unusual case, though, my decision is based largely on endorsements. Boston is a wonderful, exciting, in some respects thriving city. But the “two Bostons” problem that some candidates (especially in the preliminary election) have talked about is a real one. While some parts of the city are doing fabulously well, others are plagued with violence, and are falling further and further behind in other respects. To me, keeping the good stuff that’s happening while not forgetting about everyone else is the city’s biggest challenge going forward.
I’m less worried about the first half of that challenge than I am about the second. The good stuff that’s happening – the development, the new businesses, the emphasis on innovation – that stuff will continue. The forces pushing it are powerful, and they will be listened to by any administration. But the second half is a more difficult proposition. Who is the best candidate on that score?
It’s hard for me to answer that question because, as I said, I don’t live in the city (though I spend a fair amount of time in it), and it strikes me as a question best answered by those who are closest to it. So I am looking to the people who have made it their life’s work to advocate for the parts of the city – especially communities of color – that are at risk of getting left behind. And those people, in large part, are backing Marty Walsh. (Unlike some observers, I’m not interested in second-guessing what’s motivating the endorsements.)
So, in short, here’s how I see the race: Charlotte Golar Richie, John Barros, Felix Arroyo, Linda Dorcena Forry, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Tito Jackson, Oiste, Chinese Progressive Political Association, and other groups representing communities of color, as well as the House Progressive Caucus (Walsh’s current colleagues, it must be said), all want Walsh to win. The Globe and Herald editorial boards want him to lose.
That’s good enough for me.