Michelle Wu makes history as Boston’s first female and first POC elected mayor

Michelle Wu boston mayor

City Councilor Michelle Wu has become the first woman and first person of color to be elected mayor of Boston. 

Road to victory: Wu, the 36-year-old daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, secured 91,239 votes (64.2%) to win the office. She defeated Polish Arab American and fellow Democrat Annissa Essaibi George, 47, who secured 50,879 votes (35.8%).

  • Wu and Essaibi George finished first and second, respectively, in the September preliminary, ousting Acting Mayor Kim Janey, City Councilor Andrea Campbell and former city economic development director John Barros, as per the Boston Herald. Recent polls showed Wu leading the race by a wide margin.
  • Wu branded herself as the more progressive candidate, while Essaibi George ran as the relative moderate. The pair agreed on their city’s most significant problems but presented disparate solutions, according to NBC Boston.
  • Throughout her campaign, Wu advocated climate change policies in accordance with the Green New Deal, as well as rent stabilization, rent control and the abolishment of the Boston Planning and Development Agency, NPR noted. Essaibi George, on the other hand, was against Wu’s rent control policies and vowed to add more officers to the city’s police department who will “reflect changing demographics.”
  • In their final debate before the election, the pair argued about crucial problems, including COVID-19 and issues of early education and equity. While both support a vaccination mandate for employees, they answered differently when pinpointing the largest hurdle that businesses are exposed to while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, WCVB reported.

The aftermath: Wu, who was first elected to the Boston City Council in 2013, pledged to lead “a Boston for everyone” as mayor. Aside from being the first female and first person of color to hold the post, she is also “the first mother elected to lead City Hall” and “the first elected mayor who was not born and raised in Boston in nearly a century,” according to the Boston Globe.

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  • “We don’t have to choose between generational change and keeping the streetlights on, between tackling big problems with bold solutions and filling our potholes … All of this is possible,” she said in her victory speech. “We said these things are possible. And today, the voters of Boston said all these things are possible, too.”
  • Wu, who was born in Chicago, recalled that she came to Boston as a homesick college kid. “But as soon as I stepped foot on the Red Line to Chinatown, T token in hand, I knew I was home,” she added.
  • Essaibi George conceded just two hours after the polls closed. “Don’t ever forget that I’m from Boston,” she said in her opening remarks, as per the Dorchester Reporter. “I want to offer a great big congratulations to Michelle Wu. I know this is no small feat. I want her to show the city how mothers get it done. And I’m going to teach her how to say it the right way.”
  • Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also congratulated Wu on her historic win. “Soak it all in tonight — you’re the new Mayor of the best city in the world and I look forward to working with you,” he wrote on Twitter.

Featured Image via Michelle Wu

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