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It's official. As anticipated, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is running again for the job he's held since 1993. Menino made the announcement Wednesday evening at three events in downtown Boston, Roslindale and Roxbury.
With a view of office towers behind him, Menino chose the seventeenth-floor downtown offices of the online advertising agency Digitas to announce that he's running.
"I look forward to your vote and debating our city's future," Menino said.
Later, after he mingled with the employees, sitting at a table with reporters, Menino was asked if he ever thought about not running for re-election.
"No," he said. "I love my job. I love the city, and I want to finish my job. I'd like to see every kid get a good education in Boston. Improve the quality of the schools. No matter if it's a public school, a charter school, parochial school or private school. Education's the key to our success."
City Councilor Michael Flaherty is challenging Menino and has written a letter to the mayor asking for a meeting of their staffs next week to lay our a series of debates.
"It seems as though the mayor is running to keep his job, while I'm running for the future of Boston," Flaherty says.
Menino said Wednesday he will debate his opponents. Asked how often, he said he would get to those discussions, but he said he talks to the citizens every day about the issues.
It's been frustrating for Menino's opponents to run against him while he was not officially a candidate. At City Hall Wednesday, South End contractor Kevin McCrea, also a candidate for mayor, was relieved that Menino is now officially in the race.
"It's not a surprise by anyone," McCrea said. "I think it was disingenuous of him to not announce when he was out collecting funds and holding campaign events around the city, but as I said to the mayor, we welcome him with open arms into the race."
City councilor Sam Yoon is a third challenger to Menino. Yoon had just come out of a hearing on the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the BRA, and its impact on the city, including the gaping hole in Downtown Crossing where Filene's used to be. Yoon says he wants to change the way the city deals with developers.
"You can look at Filene's Basement and what was left of it downtown. You can look at Roxbury or projects in Allston-Brighton, and say that there is major conflict between the interests of the BRA and the community."
Menino's opponents hope to make an issue of the close relationship between the the mayor and developers who they say have obtained too many subsidies.
But the mayor's supporters, such as state Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, who represents a handful of Boston neighborhoods, say Menino will be tough to beat.
"Let's just say I think it's going to be a long summer for anyone running against Tom Menino," Petruccelli says."There is not a person in politics or in Massachusetts that works as hard as he does or with the passion that he has for the people that he represents."
After his downtown kickoff, Menino headed to Roslindale and Roxbury to meet with community organizers and labor leaders who support him.
After Menino had left his Roslindale stop, former city councilor Brian McLaughlin described Menino's tireless habit of meeting with average citizens in the neighborhoods. McLaughlin said he ran into Menino once at a church event in Brighton.
"It was a Sunday morning, and he just happened to stop by," McLaughlin recalls. "I said, 'Mayor, there's no other elected officials here.' He said, 'Brian, that's why they'll never catch me.'"
Menino's three opponents have until September's preliminary election to try. After that, only two candidates go on to November's general election.
This program aired on April 23, 2009.
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