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Mayor Walsh On His Inauguration, Councilor Tito Jackson, And The Long Island Bridge

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Mayor Marty Walsh with WGBH News' Joe Mathieu.
Karen Marshall/WGBH
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Sitting in his office at City Hall Thursday, Mayor Marty Walsh stared out of his large window overlooking the snow-swept statues of Kevin White and James Michael Curley outside of Faneuil Hall. Days earlier he had taken the oath of office for a second time, promising to steer a city that is far different from the one led by the two political icons memorialized below.

In an interview with WGBH's Morning Edition, the mayor discussed his relationship with Joe Biden — the former vice president spoke at Walsh's inauguration — lessons learned from his first term, and how this experience has shaped his plans for the next four years. He also spoke about his relationship with former City Councilor Tito Jackson, who ran against Walsh in last year's election.

Listen to Walsh speak to Joe Mathieu about his inauguration here:

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Walsh also spoke about Long Island in Boston Harbor, and the promise he made during his inauguration Monday to rebuild the Long Island bridge. 

Walsh's decision to close the bridge more than three years ago has long been a target for his critics. During his campaign to unseat Walsh last year, Jackson said that the large population of homeless and people struggling with drug addiction who gather around Melnea Cass Boulevard is the result of poorly planned policy rushed through by his administration.

The mayor has steadfastly defended his decision. The bridge was structurally deficient and the city built new facilities to accommodate the loss of beds, but not without receiving criticism over how long it took to secure permanent replacements. Since the closure, the Walsh administration has added a number of new outreach services and has made ending chronic homelessness a major goal, Walsh said.

"We took homelessness out of the shadows, we weren't dealing with the issue of homelessness ... we have a better system now to deal with homelessness," Walsh told WGBH News.

Walsh said he wants to make Long Island a place focused on drug rehabilitation as the opioid crisis continues to plague Massachusetts. He also shot back at accusations that he decided to rebuild the bridge to appease his business contacts in the area. 

"It's just simply not true, they did not factor into my decision to build Long Island," he said. "This all about the addict and alcoholic, and the families suffering because of addiction."

Click on the audio player above to hear the first part of Walsh's conversation with Morning Edition's Joe Mathieu. Videos by Ciku Theuri.

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