'More Is Possible': Wu Discusses Priorities After Claiming 1st Slot On Boston Mayoral Ballot

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Mayoral candidate Michelle Wu speaks to supporters at Distraction Brewing Company in Roslindale on election night. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Mayoral candidate Michelle Wu speaks to supporters at Distraction Brewing Company in Roslindale on election night. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George will face off in November's election for the next mayor of Boston.

Wu, who claimed the first of two spots up for grabs in Tuesday's preliminary election, joined Morning Edition to discuss her victory.

Interview Highlights

You delivered your victory speech just after 10 p.m. Tuesday night with less than 1% of the vote counted. What made you confident so early in the night declaring victory for the preliminary election?

"We had been excited by the energy all across the polls throughout the day. I was visiting several neighborhoods in several locations with friends and listening to the stories of voters. And by evening, as polls were closing, from the numbers that we were getting back about our own returns, we were feeling confident that we had made the top two and moved on to the final election."

In your speech last night to supporters, you said, "This is a choice about whether a city hall tackles our biggest challenges with bold solutions or whether we nibble around the edges of the status quo." What did you mean by that? And was it a slap at the apparent second place finisher, Councilor Essaibi George?

"This is a moment for Boston to step up not just right now for a recovery and the many, many urgent needs that we're still facing in the midst of a public health crisis and ongoing challenges. But this is a chance and a window of time that we have to lay the foundation for our future. And as we think about how housing and transportation and climate justice and schools fit together with the future that our kids deserve, we have an obligation and an opportunity to step in and really lead."

What do you see as your biggest differences from Councilor Essaibi George?

"I am proud to be a Boston Public Schools mom. Both my boys and the schools, and live in a multigenerational household with my mom, who's been living with some mental health challenges. So I know the gaps that families across our city face. I also bring a decade of experience and track record in City Hall of getting things done that people had thought would be impossible — big changes that Boston needed that we were able to get done because of building coalitions and bringing more people to the table. And so this campaign has always been about encouraging and pushing Boston to believe that more is possible, because we have already demonstrated that with our track record, with a vision, with the experience and with the the hope that this is a city that can lead in so many ways right now."

Give us a thumbnail sketch of your vision for Boston with its many challenges: COVID, income inequality, housing inequality, transportation, education.

"Boston should be the city for families to live and to thrive. We need to tackle the high cost of living, especially housing costs, and the way that transportation access can worsen that. We need to ensure that we are providing quality, nurturing school for every single one of our kids. And as a mom invested in that system, I will make sure that that includes wrapping around our services, through our school communities, to every other part of city government.

"We need to close gaps in our city so that we are leading the way when it comes to racial justice, when it comes to economic opportunity and getting our small businesses back on their feet and creating new business opportunities and jobs in our community that are for workers from all backgrounds and great wages and decent benefits. And we need to make sure that we're planning for our future. What we saw in New York recently with flooding devastating that city, Boston needs to be prepared for a climate future that is here right now, as well as the opportunities, the green jobs and the benefits of leading the way on climate justice."

Editor's Note: This conversation aired before The Associated Press officially called the final race slot for Annissa Essaibi George at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

This article was originally published on September 15, 2021.

This segment aired on September 15, 2021.


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Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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