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With Menino on the out, politicians vie for mayoral seat

Just days after Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced he would not seek reelection, a crowd of local politicians have thrown their names into the race.

Five candidates have declared their candidacy for the seat, with many others considering a possible run. Dan Conley, Suffolk County District attorney, announced Wednesday that he would run for the mayoral position.

“Boston is a great city, and with the right leadership and vision, its best days are still ahead. So today I am officially declaring that I am a candidate for Mayor of Boston,” Conley said in a statement.

Conley said he would focus on helping the poor during his campaign.

“My entire career has been dedicated to giving voice to the voiceless and hope to the most poor and vulnerable among us,” Conley said. “Boston needs to be a city where long-time residents and those fixed on incomes can feel secure, and where middle-class families aren’t priced out.”

Mass. Rep. Martin Walsh announced Tuesday his interest in the Mayoral seat.
“I want to be an advocate for the folks who don’t have a voice,” he said. “I’ve done that my entire political career as a state representative for 16 years, and I want to continue to be an advocate for those people and move our city forward.”

Katherine Levine Einstein, a professor of political science at Boston University, said the increased interest in the mayoral position is natural after Menino’s occupation of the seat for more than 20 years, a relatively lengthy term.

“Essentially, you have an entire generation of local politicians who have not been able to access that particular level of office,” she said. “You have essentially a huge amount of pent up energy and that’s being reflected by a large number of candidates that have announced interest in running for mayor.”

City Councilor At-Large John Connolly was the first to announce his candidacy Feb. 26 for the seat, and said he would focus on education during the campaign.

Will Dorcena, former City Council candidate, and Charles Clemons, cofounder of TOUCH 106.1 FM, also announced runs for the seat before Menino made his announcement to step down.

Einstein said the lack of female politicians interested in running is not uncommon for Boston.

“There’s been a lot of research that looks at why women aren’t running,” she said. “There are a lot of complicated issues at play, but the bottom line is this is something that happens at pretty much every level of government.”

Several other politicians are rumored to be considering a run for the position, including City Councilors Ayanna Pressley, Tito Jackson and Michael Ross.

“I want to thank our Mayor for his invaluable contributions to the city of Boston,” Ross said in a statement Wednesday. “As for my own political future, things are uncertain at this point, but I can tell you that I’m giving a hard look at the position.”

Einstein said the candidates will have many issues to address in their campaigns.

“I think that [minority representation] will potentially be an issue during this falls campaign,” she said. Dealing with transit, housing affordability [and] retaining young graduates are all of the issues that mayors have to deal with. Boston is a city with a lot of changes to face.”

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