Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that he would run for re-election in 2017 during the third LIVE Political Happy Hour, presented by Suffolk University in partnership with the Boston Globe.
Walsh’s announcement came after reporter Joshua Miller, who conducted the Sept. 9 interview, asked him if he intended to seek a second term. With two years remaining before the next mayoral contest, Walsh seemed surprised to be declaring his re-election plans.
“I think I am. Yes, I’m running for re-election,” Walsh told Miller. “But let me get through the next twenty-four months.”
Miller opened the interview – which was webcast live – with questions about Walsh's leadership style and his ability to rebuff friends when necessary, asking the mayor to cite a decision that has damaged his friendships. Walsh mentioned the role he played in the withdrawal of Boston 2024’s Olympic bid, drawing chuckles from the crowd.
Walsh defended both his initial championing of a Boston Olympics and his eventual decision not to sign the International Olympic Committee’s financial guarantee, which effectively ended the bid. He is not entirely without regrets when it comes to the Olympics, however.
“I had a little regret the other day when I saw the mayor of LA on TV after the city council voted 15-0 and they announced that they were going for the bid,” Walsh said. “I think in 2024 some of us…in the city might say, ‘God, that could have been us.’”
Much of Miller and Walsh’s conversation centered on education. Walsh said that he still wants the cap on charter schools lifted and would prefer to see that goal achieved through legislation. Yet he did not rule out supporting a proposed 2016 ballot initiative related to charter school expansion.
Miller pointed out that both Walsh and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to achieve universal pre-kindergarten during their 2013 campaigns and asked why de Blasio has come closer to realizing that ambition than Walsh.
Walsh said that the two cities have taken different approaches. New York first secured funding and then designed a pre-kindergarten program, Walsh said, whereas Boston is hoping to avoid implementation issues by developing a program and then asking the state for funding.
During the course of the interview, Walsh addressed a slew of issues ranging from the regulation of Uber to Deflategate. A Patriots season ticket holder, Walsh insisted that quarterback Tom Brady is not a cheater.
The fourth LIVE Political Happy Hour, set for Wednesday, Oct. 7, in Suffolk’s Sargent Hall, will feature Attorney General Maura Healey.