BOSTON — For two decades, Mayor Thomas Menino has run the city of Boston. Many are wondering whether he will try to add another four years to that tally.
Due to recent health problems, the man who prides himself on attending events across the city and overseeing every detail has had to pull back.
From his City Hall office on Tuesday, Menino said he has not yet decided whether he will run for an unprecedented sixth term.
“I love this job and I’ve got a lot more to accomplish,” he said. “I’ll make that decision in the very near future.”
It seemed his health and limited mobility have been weighing on him.
“I don’t want to be just a mayor sitting in a desk,” Menino said. “I want to have the energy, I want to have the where-all of making sure the city continues to move forward.”
That mission keeps him going.
“I’ve brought stability to the city of Boston. I’ve improved our schools. I think our schools are in much better shape than when I took over — dropout rate’s down, more kids going to college, more kids finishing high school,” Menino said, rattling off some of what he sees as the successes of his administration.
He said last week’s decision by a special advisory committee to endorse a new student assignment proposal is also a big step forward for the city’s public schools.
“This is a plan that works for the children, not the adults, the children of our city,” he said.
He admits that some schools are under-performing and says he’s seeking changes in state law and extra funding to improve those schools.
“I want every child in Boston to have a good education,” Menino said. “I think we’re making progress. Have we solved all our problems? Definitely not. But we’re on an upswing.”
Another issue at the forefront for Menino is gun violence. He says big change needs to come at the national level, creating consistent policies across all states.
“I understand the Second Amendment. If you need a gun to go hunting or you need it for security reasons, that’s your own business. I understand that,” he said. “But why is it so readily available for teenagers to get guns in our country? Do teenagers need a gun? Sure in hell they don’t.”
Menino said he’s not stopping there. He talked about development projects across the city he is excited to see completed, especially in East Boston, calling the neighborhood “the next future of our city.”
Looking back over the last 20 years in office, Menino said he’s enjoyed every day.
“A lot of opportunities out there in the city of Boston and we got to take advantage of those opportunities, not for the mayor of Boston but for the people who live here,” he said.
It sounded an awful lot like a stump speech for the campaign trail, but Menino demurred, insisting that he had not decided whether he would run for re-election.
“For 20 years I’ve been leading this city. When I get up in the morning, I still have the same energy I had the first day,” he said. “And I still do my events in the neighborhoods … I’ve cut back a little bit, but I just love it.”
If he decided he was not ready to let go of what he called “the best job in America,” Menino would face City Councilor John Connolly, who announced his campaign for mayor last week.