Kim Janey Becomes Boston’s First Black and Female Mayor

Kim Janey becomes the first female mayor in Boston’s history. (David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via AP, File)

Boston has a new mayor in Kim Janey, who became the city’s first female and first person of color to take the office Monday.

Marty Walsh resigned Monday evening to become President Joe Biden’s labor secretary. The Boston City Council President Janey, who is Black, stepped into the role of acting mayor and is scheduled to have a ceremonial swearing in Wednesday.

Walsh, the latest in a long line of largely Irish-American Boston mayors stretching back the better part of a century — with one notable Italian-American exception — said he welcomed the change.

“History will be made tonight,” Walsh said earlier in the evening. “We’re an extremely diverse city from different backgrounds and different nationalities and different skin colors. I think it’s a good thing for our city. I think it’s a great thing for our city.”

Janey took to Twitter to wish Walsh well following his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

“Congratulations on your confirmation, Secretary Walsh. You are a proud son of Dorchester who will bring our city with you,” she tweeted. “The working people of America will benefit greatly from your passion.”

“Now, we look ahead to a new day — a new chapter — in Boston’s history,” Janey, a fellow Democrat, added.

Walsh said for the past two months he’s had regular meetings and conversations with Janey. The two have also held extensive planning sessions, he said.

“Together the council president and myself and our teams have worked diligently to ensure a smooth transition,” he said.

By any typical political stopwatch, Janey’s rise has been lightning quick. She was first sworn in as a city councilor just three years ago.

Although Janey, 55, is holding the office only on an interim basis, she’s widely seen as hailing a new chapter in Boston’s political history.

Those actively seeking the office include three women of color — current city councilors Michelle Wu, Andrea Campbell and Annissa Essaibi George. John Barros, who is of Cape Verdean descent and state Rep. Jon Santiago are also running. Barros served as chief of economic development under Walsh.

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