In his sixth major annual speech Tuesday evening, the State of the City, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh highlighted what he saw as his administration’s biggest accomplishments from the past five years and outlined his plans for the upcoming year.
The address, which was held at Symphony Hall, focused primarily on recent developments in Boston in education and housing, with mention throughout of immigration, the Walsh administration’s work towards racial and LGBTQ+ equality, and the development of the arts.
Throughout last week, Walsh released a 30-bill legislative agenda, hoping to get state lawmakers to take up his priorities on Beacon Hill.
“It's an ambitious agenda and a necessary agenda: To create affordable housing and keep tenants in their homes; to reduce violence; expand the middle class, and protect our environment; to invest in education for all our students,” Walsh said in his address.
Without mentioning President Donald Trump, Walsh called on national leaders to “look to Boston, the leader of cities” for inspiration of “how to bring people together, not push them apart.”
“Gov. [Charlie] Baker and I are going on a road trip,” he said. “We have a Republican-led Senate and a Democratic House. So we’ll go to Washington with a united front and call for the investments in housing, transit, and the environment that our future depends on. Instead of building a wall, let's show them how to build bridges.”
The mayor also spoke of funding that went to the development of new schools, which he called “the sign of a more vibrant democracy.”
“We've spent over $300 million on brand new schools, major renovations, and modern furniture,” Walsh said. “Another $800 million is on the way to give the children of Boston the great schools they deserve.”
Walsh also said his administration was “serious about growing our middle class.”
“We'll create 1,000 new homeowners in the next five years, by building more affordable homes and providing more financial help,” Walsh said. “I've seen this work change lives.”
Walsh also addressed the opioid epidemic and his dedication to provide opportunities for addiction recovery.
“We are suing the opioid makers who fueled this crisis, because we are all paying for their greed,” Walsh said.
Walsh also gave shout-outs to Massachusetts officials who made history in the 2018 elections: Rachael Rollins, the state’s first woman of color district attorney, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, the state’s first African-American congresswoman, whose mention received strong applause.
The fact that Walsh’s address fell on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 90th birthday was not forgotten.
“Soon, we will have a major memorial to Dr. King and Coretta Scott King on Boston Common,” Walsh said. “It will be a tribute to their time in our city, where they met, fell in love, and formed their vision.”
Walsh said he was proud of what his administration had achieved in the past five years, and encouraged Bostonians to reflect, as well.
“What we do in Boston can change this country … because in this time of uncertainty and division, Boston offers a way forward,” Walsh said.